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Full text of "The whole works of the Rev. John Howe, M.A. : with a memoir of the author"

tihtavy of ^he theological ^emvnarjp 


Professor Hency van Dyke 
April 3, 1901 






VOL. vni. 






(seven sermons.) 



ON HOPE, (fourteen SERMONS.) 





ILonbou : 





B. Bensletj, Boll Court, Fleet Street. 





PART 11— Concluded. 




LUKK II. 14. 

Good will towards men. 

[The whole verse 7uns thus, — Glory to God in the highest, 
on earth peace, and good will towards men.] 

"Y"OU know we have been largely, and very lately, discours- 
ing to you oF the apostacy, the fall of the first man, 
and the fallen state of men, with the continual descent of a 
corrupt nature through all the generations of men hereupon. 
It now follows, of course, (and according to the natural 
order of things as they lie,) to speak of man's recovery. And 
in order thereunto, in the first place, of God's kind propen- 
sion towards men ; which is to be considered as that which 
leads on the whole of any design or endeavour to that pur- 
pose ; His good-will, the original, the source, the fountain, 
the well-head, of the glorious design which he hath set on 
foot for the recovery of such a lost and lapsed creature. 
This is more especially held forth to us in the close of this 
verse now read ; and not more distinctly and fully any 
where else in Scripture. But it is in conjunction (as we 
shall come more particularly to take notice of by and by) 
with other things which we shall not overlook, though that 
which I design to fasten upon, is this particular only— 
" Good will towards men." 

And if, with reference to what we have heard, we do but 

* Preached. December 29, 1694. 
yoi. Tin. « 


consider the summary import of these words, " Glory to 
God in the highest, on earth peace, and good will towards 
men," it might fill us with amazement and wonder. And 
sure it would do so, if these things were now altogether new 
lo us, or did now come at this time to our notice and hearing. 
Upon what hath been so largely discoursed concerning the 
fall, and the degenerate state of fallen creatures ; how sin 
and death have spread themselves through this world ; how 
an impure and poisoned nature was continually descending, 
and transmitting from age to age, a nature envenomed with 
enmity against the Best of beings, the Sovereign rightful 
Lord of all: and that by this continual descent and trans- 
mitting of such a nature, (which as you have heard it did 
not seem meet to the divine wisdom to hinder by preter- 
natural means,) here was, hereupon, a continual war main- 
tained, and kept up on earth against heaven ; and this war 
carried on in an open hostility from age to age. Upon the 
discovery (1 say) of all this the true representation (however 
defective and short of the full) of the state of the case be- 
tween God and man ; if we did not live under the gospel, 
or had no notice, no intimation or hint, of any such thing 
before, as now comes to be laid in open view before our 
eyes, we should be the most transported creatures that ever 
God made : the children of men would generally be so. 
And certainly, upon the supposition already made, two things 
we would have expected. And two things we would little 
ever have expected or thought of. We would, 

]. Sure, have expected that there should liave been an 
efficacious revelation of wrath from heaven. There hath 
been a verbal one, and a real one in degree ; we would sure 
have expected it to have been most efficacious and total. 
We would wonder that it hath not been long ago ; that it 
hath not turned this world into flames and ashes, many a 
day since ; and in that way put a period to the propagation 
of a wicked nature, and the continuation of a war and hos- 
tility against heaven, and the Lord of heaven and earth. 
And we would have expected, 

2. That, whereas men have been accomplices with the 
devil, in this apostacy from God, and in the continuation of 
this rebellion and war against him, from age to age ; (accom- 
plices with a sort of creatures of an higher order, a great 
part of the heavenly host that first made a defection from 
God, and drew in man with them into the same apostacy ;) 
I say, we would sure have expected that none should have 
been more ready executioners of the just wrath of God upon 

LEC. xLiii.) Grace in Man's Recovery. 3 

those disingenuous, apostate, ungrateful generations and 
race of creatures, than those angels that retained their inte- 
grity, that left not their first estate. We would have ex- 
pected that they should have been the most prepared, 
expedite instruments of God's vengeance upon such a 
generation of creatures as we were, and have been most 
willing, to have come upon that errand, to vindicate their 
rightful Sovereign Lord, from all indignities and disho- 
nours that have been done him, by the creatures of their 
own order first, who had drawn into a confederation with 
them, a whole race of creatures of an inferior nature and 
order. One would think that love to God, and a zeal for 
his honour and interest, should so universally have inspired 
them, the glorious inhabitants of heaven, that no errand 
would have been more grateful to them, thanto be sent as 
the quick executioners of the divine revenge upon such a- 
wicked world as this. 

i\nd again, upon the forementioned supposition, there 
are two things that we should as little ever have expected, 
to wit: 

]. That there should ever have been a thought of favour 
and kindness in heaven, and with the God of heaven, to- 
wards such creatures as we. That we would little have 
looked for, that ever the sound of such a voice should have 
been heard from heaven towards sucli an apostate dege- 
nerate race of creatures, as " peace on earth, and good-will 
towards men." Who would ever have looked for it? That 
when they were breathing nothing but war, and enmity, and 
hostility, against heaven, there should be a proclamation 
from thence, of peace towards men on earth, proceeding 
from (as it could proceed from nothing else but) good will. 
And again, 

2. We would as little have expected, that the angels of 
God should be the messengers of such tidings to this world, 
whose dutiful and loyal breasts we must conceive filled with 
indignation against apostate creatures, that had left, and put 
themselves off from so kind, so benign, so gracious, and so 
rightful a Lord. One would little have thought, that they 
should have cotue upon such an errand ; that when they 
would rather have been waiting for a commission to execute 
the just wrath of God upon this wretched world, they should 
be sent to proclaim peace, and to signify the divine good-will 
towards men. Though, indeed, for the same reason for 
which they would have been executioners of the divine 
revenge upon this wretched world, they would also be mes- 
sengers of such glad tidings, to wit, because they were 

B 2 


obsequious, dutiful, and loyal ; and had but one will with 
him, whose creatures and servants they were. His will, so 
far as it is notified and made known, is always perfectly 
complied with in heaven, as we are to desire it should be 
here on earth. But that was the case here; the angels are 
sent upon this errand first, to bespeak " glory to God in the 
highest," and to speak out, " peace upon earth, and good- 
will towards men." 

And now finding ourselves outdone every way, that what 
we would most of all have expected, we find not ; but what 
we would never have expected, that we find ; That as to the 
most dismal and dreadful things that we would have looked 
for, we meet with a grateful disappointment : but as to such 
things that we would never have looked for, we meet with 
a most grateful surprise. When we find (I say) the matter 
to be so, then would our narrow minds begin to fall a won- 
dering at somewhat else ; to wit, that since wrath did not 
break forth upon this world, to put a sudden end and period 
to it ; and that God having so many mighty and powerful 
agents to employ as instruments therein, prest and ready at 
his command, they were not yet employed in that work ; 
but, on the contrary, grace breathes from heaven upon this 
forlorn world, and the angels of God are here made the first 
ministers (as it were) thereof, to publish it and make it 
known ; we would, then, wonder why was not this much 
earlier? Why was it not many ages before ? Why did not 
that gracious, kind design break forth sooner, so as to have 
mollified the world, to have assuaged and conquered down 
that enmity, and to have prevented the insolencies of wick- 
edness, which, through a succession of many ages, for almost 
tour thousand years together, had prevailed, and been acted 
on the stage of this rebellious world. 

But we see that in all respects, " God's wajs are not as 
our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts ; but as the 
heavens are high above tne earth, so are his ways above our 
ways, and his thoughts above our thoughts," Isaiah Iv. 7. 
What was, with deepest and most profound wisdom, fore- 
laid with bin: in the eternal counsel of his will, it was to have 
a gradual, and a very gradual, discovery and revelation to 
this world ; and not to have its fulness of accomplishment 
till the fulness of time set for it. Every part of that method, 
which he had laid with himself, every juncture in it being, 
by divine counsel, affixed to so many parts, and points of 
time, so as that every thing belonging to that glorious de- 
sign must fall into that very season which was fore-deler- 
mined for it, and then receive its punctual accomplishment: 

LEc. xLiii.) Grace in Man's Recovery. 5 

according to that of the Apostle James, tliat sage saying of 
his. Acts XV. 18, " Known unto God are all his works from 
the beginning of the world." Not only known that they 
shall be, but known when every thing shall be, in 
what time, with what dependencies upon other things, 
with what references unto things that are to follow 
and ensue ; according to that scheme and model which lay 
in the all-comprehending, Divine Mind; the thoughts and 
purposes of that mind being not hitherto unformed, but 
only unrevealed ; hid in God, (as the expression is, Eph. 
i. 19;) folded up in mystery, raid so concealed from ages 
and generations by past; in a mystery that was (as it were) 
inwrapt in rich glory, or in the riches of glory, as Eph. i. 22. 
This mysterious design, with the method of it, was not to 
come into view, but in the determinate season ; all things 
being left by the supreme wisdom, in the dependence of 
one ihing upon another, and with a particular reference to 
such and such seasons, that all things must have in the 
course and current of time. 

Long it was, therefore, that this world was let sleep on in 
sin and darkness, unapprehensive generally, that there \yere 
any such kind thoughts in heaven towards them. Little 
was that thought of; and, indeed, for the most part, it was 
as little desired, as expected, that ever God should have 
given such relief or redress, to the sad, forlorn state of 
things in the world. It was, I say, as little desired, as it 
was expected or hoped ; for, as the most deplorable things 
in this our calamitous state, such as distance from God, 
ignorance of him, unacquaintance with him, the presence of 
the sensible, and the debasement of the intellectual nature. 
These were not men's more real misery than they were their 
imagined felicity : things that they were generally very 
well pleased with ; that which was their doom, was their 
choice. It was in every man's heart to say unto God, 
** Depart IVom us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways ; 
we had rather live alone apart from God." If any scattered 
beam of divine light shone here and there, it shone amidst 
the darkness which refused to comprehend it ; a malignant 
darkness, that was naturally bent to exclude and shut it out. 
So that it might be truly said, The wretchedness of this 
world was become con-natural to it — its very element; and 
men did enjoy their misery : those viperous lusts, that, as so 
many serpents, were inwrappingand preying upon the hearts 
and vitals of rnen, they were hugged as their only delec- 
table darlings ; and all their business, every where, was to 

B 3 


make provision for these lusts, and to satisfy, to the utmost, 
what was insatiable, and could not be satisfied. So that 
there was not less need of divine power, to apply a remedy 
in such a case, than there was of wisdom to contrive, or 
kindness to design it. 

And thereupon, as men did all this while generally (as it 
were) enjoy (as we said) their own misery, enjoy it to 
themselves ; so God did all this while enjoy his own love to 
himself; pleased himself in this design of his, which yet, for 
the most part, was concealed and hid in God, as was before 
noted to you ; and he might, do so, the whole method of that 
design, in all the parts and junctures of it, being so surely 
and tirmly laid, and one thing so connected with another, 
that it was altogetlier undisappointable; lie being Master of 
the design, having it perfectly in his power, and it being 
impossible any thing should intervene the accomplishment 
of whatsoever he had determined, and purposed within him- 
self. He enjoyed his own love, this good will of his towards 
men, as it was a fountain of that designed good, which they 
should enjoy, and which, through the several successions of 
some ages of time, they did, in some measure, enjoy. And 
that also was an ever springing fountain to himself ; for 
nothing can satisfy God but God ; an everlasting compla- 
cency, therefore, he must be supposed to take in his own 
benignity, in the goodness of his own will, with all the other 
perfections thereof. 

But now, at length, in the fulness of time, this design of 
his breaks forth unto men too ; not till time was come to its 
fulness, its parturient fulness, and was to be disburthened of 
that birth, the greatest and most glorious that ever lay in the 
womb of time, or was possible so to do. When the Son of 
God was to appear here upon this stage, and to be brought 
forth into this world, then it was not fit that so glorious a 
work as that, the manifestation of the Son of God in human 
flesh, should come forth without a previous knowledge. 
When he was come, it was fit it should be known what he 
was come for : and so Christ and a gospel, they do, in 
this world, commence both together: that is, now doth 
the Sun of Righteousness arise and shed his beams upon 
this world. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself was that Sun; 
the gospel was the beams of it, the radiations of that Sun. 

And this beaming out of the light and grace of the gospel. 
It was, at first, in a way as extraordinary, as the thing itself 
was. How extraordinary was the thing, that God should 
descend, be manifested in human flesh, put on man, take the 

LEC» XLiii.) Christ the Sun of Righteousness. 7 

name of " Emanuel, God with us :" a God among men, 
how extraordinary was that thing? And the way of its dis- 
covery, it was suitably, it was correspondeatly, extraordinary, 
too : that is, by an embassy of angels, this should be first 
made known to the world. They were not to be the or- 
dinary ambassadors of those glad tidings among men, but 
they were ambassadors extraordinary. So you find this 
matter is represented in this context. First, one angel 
appears to a company of shepherds, and tells them, (as soon 
as they were recovered out of their sudden affiight,) that he 
was come to publish to them glad tidings of great joy, that 
should be to all people — and by and by there is a number- 
less host, a vast chorus, a choir of angels ; a multitude of 
the heavenly host, who all come together upon the same 
errand, to publish what we have here contained in the Scrip- 
ture : " Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and 
good will towards men." 

So that look upon Christ as the Sun of Righteousness ; 
look upon the gospel as the beaming forth, the irradiation 
of that Sun ; and you may look upon this text as the 
epitome, or that which hath in it the contracted beams of 
all that irradiation : for a sum of the gospel it is. Look 
into the particulars of it, and it is made up especially of 
these parts. 

1. The final issue and effect of this great and glorious 
undertaking of the Son of God, in descending and coming 
down into this world, putting on human flesh, and being 
manifested therein. And that is two-fold — supreme and 

(I.) Supreme: " Glory to God in the highest." That is 
the thing in which this whole dispensation shall finally 
result ; all shall terminate in the highest glory to God 
above; to God that inhabits those highest and most glorious 
regions, that is there enthroned : all shall have a final 
resultancy into his highest glor}^ who inhabiteth those 
highest and most glorious regions of the universe. And 

(2.) There is the subordinate effect, or final issue, out of 
which that glory is to result unto God : " Peace on earth." 
There is a peace-making design yet on foot. It shall not 
be abortive, i t shall have its effect, and take place. God 
will, upon certain terms, be reconciled unto men. Men 
shall be brought first or last (many of them, multitudes of 
them) to comply and fall in with those terms. And so 
where there was nothing else but war, there shall be peace : 



the Prince of Peace is now arrived into this world, and it 
shall not be without effect : his kingdom is a kingdom of 
peace, a peaceful kingdom. That peace is principally, and, 
in the first place, to be between the offended God, and hi» 
offending creatures here below. Other peace will propor- 
tionably, and in due time, ensue. 

This is the final issue and effect of this undertaking of 
our Lord: that is, the ultimate effect — "Glory to God ir> 
the highest;" and the subordinate effect — " peace on earth." 
And that is the first part that we have considerable here of 
the words made up of these two. And, 

2. The principal, the original, the source and fountain,, 
of that whole undertaking of our Lord, and of this two-fold 
effect, which is to result from it : and that is God's good 
will towards men. From this fountain shall spring forth 
both peace on earth, and glory to God; the former more 
immediately, and the latter ultimately : the former being 
subordinate to the latter, as the supreme and last end of 
that. And so as to this matter, the same account is here 
given of the whole gospel-constitution, as we find given in 
that Ephes. i. 4, 5,6. " According as he hath chosen us in 
him, that we might be holy and without blame before him 
in love; having predestinated us to the adoption of children, 
according to the riches of his grace in Christ Jesus, to the 
praise and the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us 
accepted in the beloved." So that take the whole scheme of 
the gospel-revelation together, and it bears this inscription : 
It is a frame of things finally and ultimately dedicated to 
God, as all things must be to him, as well as from him. He 
that is the author is the end of all. He can do nothing but 
for himself. How or in what sense he doth so, to wit, doth 
things for his own glory, we shall hare occasion to open 
more distinctly hereafter. But this being now the first 
thing that we have in view here; and which I design to 
touch upon as previous to that which comes last in the 
text, and is the main I intend to insist upon. Something, I 
say, I shall speak in reference to this — *' Glory to God in 
the highest." 

This you see is the final effect and issue of this mighty 
undertaking of a Redeemer. The Son of God descending 
and coming down into the world. Why, what shall be 
effected hereby? What shall be brought about? Why, 
" Glory to God in the highest." That should not fail to be 
effected. God would, it is true, have been glorified in the 
destruction of this world altogether : if it had been all laid 

j,Ec. XLiii.) Final End of Christ^s Incarnation. 9 

in ruin^ it" it had been turned into one heap, he would have 
had his glory. He might have continued that as an ever- 
lasting trophy of his power and justice ; of his justice by 
his power. 

But that was not the way chosen ; and he will not lose 
by it, as to all revenue that it is possible can be added to 
the divine treasure. Nothing can be really added. Glory 
can be added, to wit, reputation, ( as the word signifies^) 
which, therefore, must be supposed to have its place in 
the intelligent and apprehensive minds of men. For the 
word made use of here, comes from a word that signifies 
esteem, or to judge. There must be some that are capable 
of judging of what is honourable and glorious : God him- 
self is the Supreme Judge : and, indeed, there is no com- 
petent judge besides. As it is altogether impossible that 
any should be his peer, or capable of making an estimate 
of what will be fully and adequately answerable to him 
in point of honour and glory. And as the matter doth relate 
to him, as he is to be himself the judge of honour, of what is 
becoming of God, what will be an honour to himself; so it 
is here considered, 

(1.) Objectively, as the glory that could only be the thing 
designed by himself, to himself; to wit, the complacency 
that he takes in himself, which must bear some proportion 
to the excellency of his nature and being. And that 
cannot lie in the mere opinion that he hath in the minds 
of his creatures, (be those minds never so right, and never 
so comprehensive,) but the satisfaction that he receives to 
himself, in himself. This is an end worthy of God^ and 
suitable unto God. Nothing can be an adequate satis- 
faction unto him, but what is in himself. Now there is an 
objective glory in himself — the glory of all his excellencies, 
of all his perfections : and this is the object in which he 
satisfies himself, and takes his own complacency there. 
There are, indeed, beamings forth of that excellency 
into the minds of creatures, but this cannot be his end ; 
to wit, to be well thought of, or well spoken of, by his 
creatures : they are inconsiderable unto him. The whole 
creation is even as the dust of the balance, or the drop of 
the bucket ; lighter than nothing and vanity, in comparison 
with him. 

But there is, 1 say, to be considered, first, an objective 
glory, the excellency, the becomingness of the order of 
things, as they lie in God, which only comes under the 
notion of creatures, as he is pleased to make the discovery ; 


and when he so doth, that shines into their enlightened 
minds, which was, indeed, before ; to wit, the order of 
things, that harmony, that comely dependance and refer- 
ence of one thing to another, as it lies in the counsel of 
God's wisdom from eternity. Here is that glory which he 
beholds first in himself, and so he satisfies himself on the 
rectitude and perfection of all that is in him, and all that 
immediately proceeds from him, as it doth more imme- 
diately proceed. This only can be God's end. Indeed, 
the creature's end must be the display of this glory, when 
once it doth shine forth and come under their notice ; then 
they are to reflect it from one to another, and to diffuse it 
among one another ; so that there must be very different 
notions of the divine glory as it is his end, and as it is the 
creature's end. And that this matter may be the more dis- 
tinctly explicated withal, consider two things here : first, 
the form, and, secondly, the matter, of this saying of the 
angels in this part of it. " Glory to God in the highest," 
which is the principal part of the effect or end of this under- 
taking, the Redeemer's descent into this world ; it was to 
produce glory to God in the highest, as it should produce, 
in due time, peace on earth, a reconciliation between God 
and man. 1 say, the former of this speech is to be inquired 
into. What doth it mean, that it should be here said, "Glory 
to God in the highest?" And then, the matterof it, and what 
is signified under it, we shall come more distinctly to 
inquire into afterwards. 

(1.) For the form of this speech, that it may be rightly 
understood, we must consider from what mouth it comes, 
or who are the speakers, who they are that utter it : they 
are an heavenly host; a most numerous heavenly host; 
an host of angels that descend upon this account, in this 
juncture of time, (as it were,) upon a visit, upon a kind visit 
unto our earth, and to pay a dutiful homage unto the Son 
of God, whose descent they wait upon at his first arrival 
into this world of ours. The form of expression will very 
much be collected by considering the speakers. And no- 
thing, indeed, could be more decorous, more becoming, than 
that they should be first employed upon such an errand as 
this, who are the speakers and mouth by whom this first 
summary of the gospel is communicated amongst men, here 
in our world. It was fit there should be such messengers 
employed and sent; to wit, to celebrate his arrival into our 
world, who was so great an one, and who came upon so 
great an errand. 

LEc. xLiii.) The Saying of the Jngels opened. 11 

Let us but take notice, by the way, (before we come to 
collect from hence what the form of this saying must im- 
port,) why it should be said by such speakers, a multitude, 
a choir of angels, who were employed to utter it. Why, 
that was not all their business, to utter this saying Iiere to a 
company of shepherds; that falls in with it, and that very 
aptly; but their great business is to wait upon the first 
arrival of the Son of God into this world, as a due honour 
to him. Upon which account we are told, (Heb. i. 6.) 
''That when he brought his first born into the world, all 
the angels of God were to worship him," or to pay an 
homage to him. When he brought this his first-born into 
the world, this was (as it were) a decree then published in 
heaven : " Now let all the angels of God worship him." 
The thing also refers to 1 Tim. iii. 6. " Great is the 
mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justi- 
fied in the Spirit, seen of angels." Seen.'' How seen? Not 
barely looked upon as by a company of gazers, or of idle, 
unconcerned spectators ; but seen, beheld with an adoring 
eye ; every one seeing and adoring at once. 

It was a suitable dignity and honour to them ; and it was 
very suitable from them, considering what a state the Son 
of God was now coming into. A state that was to be 
*' a little lower than the angels," as Heb. ii. 7. quoted from 
the 8th Psalm, or '* lower for a little while." So the word 
admits to be read. That in as much as this humiliation 
of his was spontaneous and voluntary, he might not lose 
their homage by it : and undoubtedly they tendered it him. 
That self-depression was elective, not necessitated ; there- 
fore, he was not to lose by it : he descends, goes down into a 
state a little lower than the angels ; therefore, the justice 
of heaven determined thus concerning him, and the justice 
of their minds could not but so consent and fall in with it. 
" You shall pay your homage to the descending Son of God ; 
he shall lose nothing that is due from you (ccelites) the 
inhabitants of heaven, for this self-debasement." Therefore, 
though this descent of his was to look with a dark side 
towards this our earth, because here he was to appear in 
obscurity ; the ends of his coming down here among men 
would never have been composed and brought about, if he 
had been to shine as an illustrious person, in bright celestial 
glory, visibly and openly attended with guards of angels ; 
his work would never have been done ; he could never, on 
those terms, have arrived to the cross, which was finally the 
thing he had in his eye and design. Therefore, I say, this 


descent of his must look with a dark side here towards us 
here below. But yet, care was taken that it should look 
with a bright side in heaven above, that the glorious inha- 
bitants there, might be kept in a dutiful, adhering posture 
towards him, as understanding their own subserviency, and 
subjection to him ; and that he was their Lord still, though 
he did voluntarily go down into a state a little lower than 
theirs ; lower for a little while. Therefore, upon occasion, 
their subserviency to him is plainly signified, when he was 
at the lowest, in his last agonies, angels came and minis- 
tered unto him. And so his descent looks with a bright 
side towards heaven, and those vaster numbers of intelligent 
minds, that do inhabit those regions; all was lightsome 
thitherwards, and must be, though it was necessarj^ it 
should look with a dark kind of gloominess and obscurity 
towards men on earth, that the design might be accomplished 
and not frustrated, for which he did descend and comedown 
into this world. 

And so much being premised, it is now obvious to collect 
what the form is of this same diction, this same saying, 
by these excellent, dutiful creatures. It must carry with it, 

[].] The form of an acclamation, giving glory to God; 
proclaiming the divine glory, upon this wonderful product 
of his wisdom and love, that began now to appear, and 
obtain, and take place in this world. It was an acknow- 
ledgment that he was worthy to receive all honour, and 
glory, upon this account. And, 

[2.] It must bear, too, the form of an apprecation, 
that is, wishing he might continually do so; that all glory 
and honour might be continually given to God in the 
highest. And, 

[3.] It might carry in it, too, the form of a narration, 
there being no verb in the sentence ; and therefore, is to 
be understood as much as if it had been said, " Glory 
is to God in the highest;" that is, it is a representation 
how well the glorious inhabitants of the upper world 
were at that time employed, to wit, in celebrating the 
divine glory, and giving glory to him. This is the busi- 
ness of heaven : and upon this account, that the Son of 
God is now descended and come down upon this earth, 
it is their business on earth to be all giving glory to God 
in the highest. Or, 

[4.] It may be also an invitation to angels above, and 
men below, so to do. All the glorious inhabitants of heaven, 
who behold and see; and so, likewise, all the men, and 

LEC. xLiil.) The Saying of the Angels opened. 13 

wretched and miserable inhabitants of this earth, who are 
concerned in all that is now done, join in this, giving 
glory to God in the highest. And, 

[5.] It may be a demand or claim of glory to God in the 
highest ; not only a mere invitation, but a challenge : " Let 
God have his due glory ; withhold not his glory from him. 
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord." Psalm 
cl. last. Let the universe praise him, upon account of this 
marvellous undertaking, that his own Son is come down 
in glory, veiled and obscured into this world. And it may, 
in the last place, 

[6.] Carry with it the form of a prediction ; Glory shall 
be to God in the highest. As heaven is now full of this 
thing, earth shall be full of it; God will have his glory, 
even to the full, out of this wonderful thing, a thing infi- 
nitely more wonderful than the creation of this world was; 
even the extraction of such an universe out of nothing : 
that God should come down, and be manifest in such flesh 
as the children of men do wear, and carry about them here 
upon earth. We do all predict Glory to God in the highest 
hereupon. So great a thing can never be, but there must 
be a production of glory to God in the highest, some time 
or another, as far proportionable hereunto, as the capacity 
of such creatures can admit. He will not lose his glory. 
We foretel he shall have his glory, even from all the ends of 
the earth, directed to him in the highest, arising and spring- 
ing up from this very thing. But then, 

(2.) The matter expressed and signified under this various 
form, that will also require some further explication too, 
which now I shall not enter into : but, in the mean time, 
let us consider, 

\_Use.'] Doth heaven appear to have been so full of this 
thing, the descent of the Son of God into this world, when 
we were the persons concerned ? What amazing stupidity is 
it, that our souls should not be more taken up about it? 
It was, indeed, partly duty to God, and to the Son of God, 
that these blessed angels sFiould be in such a transport upon 
this occasion: but it was also benignity and kindness, and 
wonderful kindness towards us. When they saw what 
was designed to us, they give glory to God in the highest, 
upon the prospect they had of peace springing up towards 
us on earth, and of the view they had by retrospection 
upon the divine good-will : finding now that anciently, 
and heretofore, his delights must have been with the chil- 
dren of men ; (as miserable as their state and condition 


was ;) not upon the account of what they now were, but 
upon the account of what he would one day make them. 
He would yet one day make them a delectable sort of crea- 
tures. The angels of God are full of this ; and heaven was 
full of it. And we are not to think it was only so seventeen 
hundred years ago ; that the thoughts and apprehensions 
of the glorious inhabitants of heaven are lower about 
these matters now : no ; there is the same occasion, and 
the same sense. They are in the same joyous and dutiful 
raptures, upon account of what was doing and designing 
hereupon earth, for producing of peace to men, and glory 
to himself. 

What an amazing stupidity is it, that all this should 
signify so little with us ? That when we are the persons 
chiefly concerned; when hell maybe designing upon us 
from beneath, heaven is designing upon us from above ; 
yet we are in a deep sleep all this while, neither feel 
the drawings of hell downward, nor the drawings of 
heaven upward. Hell is working upon us, and heaven 
IS working upon us, and we seem insensible of the designs 
of either; the destructive designs of the one, or the kind 
designs of the other : but vanity fills our minds, and we 
wear out a few days here upon this earth, without consi- 
dering what we are here for, or what the Son of God did 
one day come hither for! What awakenings do we need? 
And before God shall have his glory, and the earth its peace, 
what wonderful changes are there yet to be wrought in the 
minds and spirits of men? And surely if God have any 
kindness for us, there will be great change wrought upon 


But now to go on to the second thing, the material im- 
port of these words ; that is, that whereas, by universal 
consent, the glory of God is the end of all things, it must 
be very differently understood as it is his end, and as it is 
tlie creature's end. It cannot be understood in reference to 
both the same way. 

In reference to tlie creature, it ought to be their design 
(to wit, the design of all reasonable creatures) to glorify 
God, by owning and by diffusing his glory to the uttermost. 
Their glorifying God consists in these two things ; the 

* Preached, January 12, 1694. 

LEC. XLiv.) Material Import of the Words. 15 

first whereof is fundamental to the second, the agnition of 
his glory, and the manifestation of his glory. The acknow- 
ledgment of it in their own minds and souls, owning him 
to be the most glorious one. They add no glory to him ; 
it is not possible they can; but they only acknowledge and 
take notice of, and adore, that which is; confess him to be 
what he is, and what he should be. And the manifestation 
of his glory ; the spreading and propagating of it, as much 
as is possible, from one to another, through the world, even 
to their uttermost, at least, in the wish and desire of their 
own hearts. " Be thou exalted above the heavens, and 
thy glory over all the earth," as it is again and again found 
in Psalm Ivii. and in multitudes of like passages of Scrip- 
ture. " So is our light to shine before men, that they may 
see our good works, and glorify our father which is in hea- 
ven." Matt. V. 16. That his glor}-^ may be transmitted by 
some to others, and by them to others, and so spread to 
our uttermost universally unto all. 

But the matter is quite otherwise to be understood, when 
we speak of God's glory, as his own end. And it is very 
needful that we should state this matter to ourselves aright, 
lest we otherwise take up thoughts very unsuitable, and 
very dishonourable, and very injurious, to the great and 
blessed God. That design which hath been already men- 
tioned, upon our first acknowledgment in our own minds 
and hearts, the excellent glory of the divine being, then to 
diffuse and spread it, is a most worthy and becoming end 
for creatures, nothing more. It ought to be their very 
term inative end ; the end of ends with them; to wit, the 
end that must terminate all that they do. " Whether you 
eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of 
God," is that great practical maxim, 1 Cor. x. 31. What- 
soever we do, must be done, must be all consecrated unto 
this end, have a stamp of holiness put upon it, by a dedi- 
cation " to the glory of God." That is (as it were) to be the 
inscription upon every design, and upon every action, in 
pursuance of any of our designs. What can be expressed 
with larger and fuller universality. Whatsoever ye do 
(eating and drinking not excepted) is to have, and be 
levelled at this end, the glory of God, as being most suitable 
to the creature. But this is no end worthy of God, the 
matter being understood and taken so. Indeed, it is suit- 
able enough for any one to design the praise of another ; 
but it is not suitable to any one to design his own praise 
as his end. It would be thought unworthy of a wise and 


good man, to do such and such good actions for this as 
nis principal end, that he may be well thought of, and 
may be well spoken of by others. But the goodness, and 
suitableness, and agreeableness, of good actions in them- 
selves to his own spirit, is his great inducement to any one 
that doth partake of the image of God, and that is so far 
become God-like. 

But when we speak of God's having his own glory for 
his end, (whereas his glory as it is our end, doth but signify 
our agnition of it, or our manifestation of it, which is not 
his essential glory,) it is God's essential glory that must be 
his end ; for he can have no end but himself. He is his 
own first and last : his own Alpha and Omega : and so his 
glory is, then, his essential glory, which is the lustre of all 
the excellencies of his being, shining to his own eye, which 
is his end. For only wisdom can be a competent judge of 
infinite excellency. And glory doth import and carry in 
the notion of it, a reference to a judicative principle, as the 
word from whence esteem doth come, plainly enough imports. 
He only is capable of judging what is worthy of himself: 
and so it is the rectitude of his own designs, as they lie in 
his own eternal mind, that lies before him under the notion 
of his end. 

But it must be understood, too, that this is not his end 
neither, to be pursued by a desiderative will, but only by 
a fruitive ; not by a desiderative will, as if there were any 
thing wanting to him ; with us, indeed, all our end is 
always looked upon by us, as a thing to be attained; and 
that is suitable to the state of a creature, to act for an end 
to be obtained, and which we are yet short of. But all 
things are always present to him, to his all-comprehending 
mind, and especially that which belongs only to his own 
being, to which there can be no addition. He doth will 
himself; not with a desiderative will, but with a fruitive, 
a complacential will ; and so doth act within himself, not 
from indigency, (as creatures do,) but from a superabundant, 
all-sufficient, self-sufficient fulness: He enjoys himself in 

And this is obvious enough to every one that will use 
his understanding to consider, as well as it is a philosophical 
maxim, in which all sorts of considering and studious men 
have agreed. And, I say, it is apprehensible enough to 
others when it is considered, that one's end, and one's good, 
are convertible terms, and signify the same thing. Finis et 
honut, coiivertuntur, philosophers use to say j to wit, that 

LEC. xLiv.) Peace between God and Man. 17 

which is any one's ultimate end, which is so de JHre, is his 
highest and chiefest good. Now nothing is plainer than 
that there is no good adequate to God, hut himself: so 
that he cannot have his ultimate, final complacency, in 
any thing besides himself. And his glory, his essential 
glory, the lustre of all the excellencies of his being, is his 
end : not that which he covets and proposes as distant and 
unattained; but which he enjoyeth, and acquiesceth in, and 
which he cannot but have always in his own possession, as 
he cannot but be in tiie entire, uninterrupted, everlasting, 
possession of the excellencies of his own being. 

And it ought seriously to be considered, that so we may 
not in our own thoughts debase the eternal, most excellent, 
and most blessed Being, by supposing that he proposeth it 
to himself as his end, to aim at that which would be 
thought unworthy of a wise and good man to aim at : that 
is, only to be well thought of, and applauded. This is a 
thing that is consequent, and which ought to be, and which 
we ought to propose to ourselves as our end. But it is too 
low and mean an end for God. We may design that for 
another man, to wit, his praise, which no other man, who 
is wise and good, will design for himself; but take plea- 
sure in the rectitude of his design, and that goodness of his 
own actions; and enjoy them as every good man doth in 
bearing the image of God upon him. And therefore, this 
is a god-like thing ; and so must be in the highest perfec- 
tion in the ever blessed God himself, and in the excellency 
of his own being, and in the correspondent rectitude of all 
his own designs. But this is that which must consequently, 
and secondarily, come under the common notice of his intel- 
ligent and apprehensive creatures, whereupon it is their 
business, and indispensable duty, to own, and adore, and 
honour him, for the good that is in him ; to wit, to think 
well and honourably of him, and speak well and honourably 
of him, upon this account, even as goodness in men, and 
amongst men, is a thing that claims and challenges ac- 
knowledgment and praises from them within whose notice 
it comes. And then, 

2. That being the primary thing here spoken of, which 
is to result out of this great design, " Glory to God in the 
highest," all capable and apprehensive creatures being 
obliged, to their uttermost, to celebrate and glorify him, 
upon the account of what he was now doing in reference 
to this wretched world ; that being, 1 say, the first result 
of this undertaking, upon which our Lord Jesus Christ 

VOL. via. c 


was now descending and coming down into this world, 
the second is — " Peace on earth/' And that former was 
to spring out of this latter, as the whole economy of 
grace in that mentioned 4th chapter to the Ephesians, 
a design for the glory of God's grace ; to wit, it is 
to be designed by all the subjects, and all the observers 

And now concerning this peace on earth, I shall speak 
but very briefly to it, in my way to the third thing which 
1 most principally intended, in my pitching upon this 
Scripture; to wit, the original and fountain of all the 
good-will after mentioned. This peace upon earth must 
be understood to design, first, somewhat more primarily ; 
and then, secondly, somewhat more secondarily, and de- 
pendent upon the former. 

The primary intendment of it must be peace between 
God and man, the inhabitants of this earth, its principal 
and more noble inhabitants, in relation to the state of war 
and hostility that was between him and them, they having 
revolted from him, agreed and combined in a rebellion 
against him; not only with one another, but with the other 
apostate creatures, who had made a defection before, the 
angels that fell and so drew man in as their accomplices 
in that horrid revolt. And this must be observed as spoken 
too with discrimination, as we shall have hereafter occasion 
to note to you : " Peace on earth" — not with hell : there 
is no proclamation of peace reaching that place. Those 
kind, benign creatures, this glorious host of angels, this 
celestial chorus, though it is like enough it might have 
been suitable to their inclinations (if that had been the 
design and counsel of heaven) to have carried tidings, 
and a message of peace, to their fellow creatures, of 
their own order and rank, in the creation of God ; yet 
while it appears this had no place in the divine counsel, 
and they being so perfectly resigned creatures, and having 
the same will (objectively considered) with the divine, 
that is, not willing a different sort of objects from what 
he willed ; they joyfully come on this errand to men on 

The will of God is perfectly complied with in heaven; 
that will which our desires, while we are here on earth, are 
to be guided by; in our measure we are to desire God's 
will may be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. It is 
perfectly complied with in heaven : they cannot have 
a dissentient will from their Maker; and, therefore, must 

LF.r. XLiv.) Peace belneoi God (Did M(ut. !}♦ 

be understood to have been contentedly employed upon 
this errand, to j)roclaim peace, peace to the inliabitants 
of this earth, when they had none to proclaim for the 
inhabitants of that other horrid region ; knowing that they, 
who were their brethren, and of their own order, in 
the creation of God, were bound up in the chains of 
everlasting darkness, without remedy or mere}', and 
reserved unto the judgment of the great day, they wil- 
lingly come upon this errand, to proclaim peace to the 
inhabitants of this earth, and are made use of as heralds 
in this proclamation. 

And as this peace must principally be between God and 
man, so it must be understood to be mutual in the intend- 
ment of it between both, that God should be reconciled to 
them, and they should he reconciled unto God. Am\, 
indeed, there can be no such thing as peace between God 
and man upon other terms : for if he were willing upon 
other terms to be reconciled to man, it would be altogether 
insignificant, and to no purpose. He would be reconciled 
ro an unreconciled or irreconcileable man, whose heart 
should still remain filled with enmity, poisoned with 
malignity and venom against God. It would be to no 
purpose to him, for man would be no nearer felicity : and 
it is impossible for me to be happy in what 1 hate : and 
it is also impossible for the children of men to be happy in 
any thing but God. 

Now supposing this peace to be mutual between God 
and man ; to wit, he is reconciled to them, and they are 
reconciled to him, the prosecution of his justice doth 
cease, and their enmity towards him ceaseth ; there is no 
longer a contest kept up between his justice and their 
injustice; then this mutual peace must carry in it two 
things, agreeable to what is carried in the notion of peace 
between one nation, or sort of people, and another that 
have been mutually at war with one another; that is, 
there is somewhat privative, and somewhat positive, carried 
in such cases in the notion of peace; — 1st. a cessation of 
hostility, and, 2ndly, freedom of commerce. 

1. A cessation of hostility. They no longer war with 
one another; God doth no longer pursue them with re- 
venge, with hostile acts in that kind ; that is, if once a 
peace be brought about, whenever this peace obtains, and 
hath its effect, he doth no longer follow them with acts of 
vengeance. And they do no longer rise up against liirn in 
acts of hatred and aversion : they no longer say to him, 



" Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy 
ways :" they are no longer fighting against the righteous- 
■ ness and equity of his holy precepts, as the carnal mind is 
*^ enmity against God, and is not subject to his law, nor 
indeed can be." All this ceaseth ; that is, it cannot be 
now in any prevalency, in a prevailing degree. And 

2. That which is positive doth ensue. As it was between 
nation and nation, which were at war, there is not only a 
cessation of liostilities, but there is a setting on foot a 
commerce, an amicable commerce, a free commerce; so it 
is between God and man now : there is not only no war, 
but there is a communion, there is a friendly intercourse : 
God freely flows in i\\)i)n them in acts of grace, kindness, 
and goodness. His Spirit wa3 under a restraint before, 
(according to the doom and judgment past — "My Spirit 
shall no longer strive,") is now at liberty, set at liberty, from 
under tiiese restraints. It now freely bieathes upon 
those souls, emits its light, lets it shine in upon them, 
pours in the influence of the Sun of Righteousness, the 
vital, sanative influences of that Sun, who is said to "arise 
with healing in his wings," or beams. These vital, heal- 
ing beams are, by the Spirit of Christ, freely transmitted, 
let into the very hearts and souls of such creatures, as were 
at utmost distance from God before. 

Alas ! there was nothing to do between God and them, 
in a way of kindness or friendliness : his Spirit was a stran- 
ger to them ; no beams of holy light ever shone upon them ; 
no influence of grace ; they went with barren and desolate 
souls, wrapt up in daikness and death : but now the way 
is open and free ; there is no law against it, no bar, but 
the communications of the Holy Ghost may be without 
obstruction. And, thereupon, their spirits are set at liberty 
towards God, and his Spirit is at liberty towards them, and 
and not withheld. '* Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there 
is liberty," 2 Cor. iii. 17. Their soul was under restraint 
and clouds before, a prisoner under the divine wrath and 
justice. They could not act, could not move, could not 
stir, God-ward ; not so much as breathe, nor direct a breath 
towards God ; no holy desires, no holy motions. But now 
when commerce is restored, as the J)ivine Spirit freely 
breathes on ihem, it enables them freely to breathe after 
God, to send forth desires, and take up their highest 
delight in him, so as to enable them to say, " Whom liave 
1 in heaven but thee, or whom can I desire on earth in 

LEc. XLiv.) Peace among Men. 21 

comparison of" thee ?" Psalm Ixxiii. 25. This is the pri- 
mary intendment of this peace, proclaimed by this glorious 
host of angels : this is the thing primarily intended to 
be brought about, and which shall have its effect, more 
or less, and more largely, before the world ends. But 
then, there is, 

2. That which is consequential thereunto, to be consi- 
dered, and that is — peace upon earth, among the inhabi- 
tants of it towards one another. This is not the primary 
design, but it is the secondary, consequential aim and 
effect of the great Peace-Maker's undertaking, whereof 
there was a precedent and a leading case in the reconci- 
liation that was first to be brought about between Jew 
and Gentile. " He is our peace, Tiaving ma'de both one," 
Ephes. ii. 13. so as that the highest enmities and animo- 
sities that ever were between one sort of people and 
another, were to be taken up between these Jews and 
Gentiles. How contumeliously were the Jews wont to 
speak of the Gentiles; and how ignominously did they 
again speak of them. And the fraction was yet more fierce 
between the Jews and the Samaritans, that were all Israel- 
ites, all of one house: insomuch that common courtesies 
could not pass between them, as appears by that in the 4th 
chapter of John. *' How dost thou," (saith the Samaritan 
woman to Christ,) being a Jew, ask water of me, that am a 
Samaritan ? How strange is it, how can you expect that J, 
being a Samaritan, should give drink to you that are a Jew ?" 
And so great was the distance between the Jews and other 
nations, that pagan writers have taken much notice of it. 
Non monstrare vias (saith a pagan poet) cadem insi sacra 
•volenti; that a few would not so much as shew the way to one 
that was not of their own religion; no, not that common 
courtesy to tell a traveller his way. Why, he is our peace, 
he that brings it about, that shall finally, sooner or later, 
bring about an universal peace, not only between Jew and 
Gentile, (which was a precedent, a ruling case,) but among 
the several nations of the earth. 

*' He is our peace, when the Assyrian is in our land," and 
it is to be an universal thing foretold and prophesied; to 
wit, that " swords are to be beaten into plough shares, and 
spears into pruning hooks, and that men should learn war 
no more," when once the peaceful tendency of the king- 
dom of the Messiah doth reach its final and full effect; 
when it hath effect according to its tendency, so that, at 
the same time that the earth shall be filled with the know- 



ledge of God, as the waters cover the seas, then is there to 
be that universal peace on earth too, among men towards 
one another; not only no more hurting or destroying in 
all the mountain of his holiness, but nation shall not lift 
up sword or hand against nation, and men shall be untaught 
that fierceness of nature, which a continued enmity against 
God had inferred on them : for when the union was once 
broken between God and man, it must appear, they must 
must be made to understand and know to their cost, that 
that was central. And that union being dissolved, all 
union was dissolved besides, that they can never be at 
peace one with another, when they liave broken with God, 
and the breach remains between him and them. Accord- 
ing to what was emblematically held forth in reference to 
God, and the |)eople of Israel and Judah ; that is, by the two 
staves of beauty and of bands; the staff of beauty signi- 
fying the union between him and them; and the staff of 
bands the union between them with one another. But when 
one of these staves is broken, the other is shivered and 
shaken all to pieces. 

Why this is the import of what is here proclaimed, the 
final and ultimate import of it — " Glory to God in the 
highest," and then, ** peace on earth." This is the double 
effect of this great undertaking, upon which our Lord did 
now descend and come down into this world. But here 
comes next to be considered. 

The principle, the well-spring, the eternal well-spring 
of this glorious and kind design; a design so glorious to 
God, and so kind to man, what is the fountain and well- 
sprinj^ of all ? Nothing else but his own good-will. And 
this is the thing I mainly intended to insist upon from 
this scripture. That having so largely discoursed to you 
of the apostacy, the fall of the first man, and then of the 
fallen state of man ; and of the way wherein man hath been 
continued in this fallen state, from age to age, and from 
generation to generation, 1 might afterwards come to speak 
of his designed restitution and recovery. And being so to 
do, (as the order of discourse should lead,) I shall tell you 
briefly what the scheme of our discourse now must be; 
to wit, 

I. To speak of the original and fountain of this 
designed restitution of such fallen and bpsed creatures. 

LEC. xLiv.) Analysis of the Author's Plan. 23 

II. Of the constitution of a Redeemer and a Mediator in 
order hereunto. And, 

III. To shew what sort of person this Redeemer or 
Mediator must be ; to wit, to treat of his person, of his 
nature, of his offices, and of his performances. And then, 

IV. To lay before you the doctrine of the Covenant of 
God in Christ. And, 

V. The office and operations of the Holy Ghost in the 
dispensation, and pursuantly to the design of the Covenant. 
And then, 

yi. The effects wrought in all that shall actually apper- 
tain and belong to God, and be brought home to him, 
in and by Christ, this Great Head of the reducees, of return- 
ing souls. And then, 

VII. The way and course of such as shall be thus 
savingly wrought upon, that holy Work in which they 
are thereupon to be engaged, and wherein they are to 
uersist, till they reach the end of that way. And then, 

VIII. The end of all things, with the several things that 
shall be coincident thereunto. 

The first thing in the course and order of discourse comes 
naturally to be insisted upon, (when we are to consider this 
business of the restitution of man,) is the original of such 
a design. Vl^hence sprung it ? What is the fountain, the 
well-head and spring of this great design? Why, good-will 
towards men. This is the summary account that the 
matter admits of. It can be from nothing else but mere 
good-will towards men. And in speaking to this, I have 
a two-fold subject of discourse; to wit, first, God's general 
good-will, and, 2ndly, his special good-will. His good-will 
wherein it doth appear and is expressed towards men 
generally and indefinitely considered ; and his good- 
will in its more peculiar expressions, and exertions of 
itself towards a select sort of men. And so two things to 
be evinced. 

1. That God's good-will, it hath some reference unto 
all. But, 



2. That it hath not equal reference to all alike. There 
will be that two-fold subject of discourse distinctly to be 
pursued. And the former of these I chiefly intend from 
this scripture ; the latter I intend from another more 
suitable scripture. 

But, in the mean time, pray well inlay this in your own 
minds, that there are two such distinct sorts of divine good- 
will, or benignity, respecting men generally, and respecting 
some men especially ; and that these two are by no means 
in the world opposed to one another. The doing of which, 
as it is a most unreasonable thing in itself, so it is a thing 
of the worst consequence that can be supposed ; that is, 
it tends to confound the whole Christian Economy, to 
break the frame of Christianity, and make it an unintel- 
ligible scheme, as incoherent with itself; and this without 
any pretence, or shadow of a pretence. For these two 
things — general good-will, and special good-will ; or as the 
generality of divines are wont to distinguish, common and 
special grace ; these two, I say, are as distinguishable 
things, and as capable of being distinctly apprehended, as 
the general and special natures of any thing else that we 
can think of. 

Now nothing could be more absurd to pretend, that 
because 1 have the notion of such and such a general 
nature, therefore, I must not admit the notion of a special 
nature, that is narrower than that ; and superadds distin- 
guishing to the former. As if when a person hath under- 
stood that God hath made such a sort of creatures as we 
are wont to call animals, living creatures, (that being the 
notion of a living creature at large,) that therefore, I should 
pretend there should be a difficulty of understanding the 
nature of man, one particular under that general ; because 
I have the notion of a living creature taken at large, to 
wit, a creature that useth sense, that can see, and hear, 
and exerciseth spontaneous motion, can move this way and 
that, this, therefore, should be an hindrance to me in 
conceiving the special nature of man, a nobler sort of 
creature, that can do all this and something else ; to wit, 
can reason and understand, and lay designs and pursue 
them, and is a subject susceptible of religion too, as well 
as ratiocination, would any man of ordinary understanding 
pretend an inconsistency between these two; or that I 
cannot fitly conceive the one sort of nature, because I do 
conceive the other ? Because I do conceive the general no- 
tion of a living creature, an animal taken at large, therefore. 

LEC. XLV.) General Good-will of God. 25 

1 can the less conceive or take in the special notion of a 
particular sort of living creatures, that can do more than an 
ordinary livin^ creature, taken at large. 

And the difficulty is not greater if we carry the matter 
higher or further, and consider that man, as man, having 
the natural image of God upon him, as such, may be 
conceived accordingly. And so that object, God's natural 
image remaining in him, terminates a general divine benig- 
nity. And consider, also, the same sort of creatures having, 
likewise somewhat beyond and superadded to the mere 
natural image of God, to wit, his holy image; this is the 
effect, (wherever it is, as the case of man is now become,) 
and can be the effect of nothing else, but special grace: 
but this I only lay before you by the way to that which we 
are to insist upon particularly. 


LUKE TI. 14. 

Good-zcill tozcards Men. 

The former branches of this verse, wherein these angels 
proclaim, " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth 
peace," have been opened, and something hath been said 
about this good-will towards men, both as it is general and 

Now as to this general good-will of God to men, I shall, 

1. Labour to evince it to you in an absolute considera- 
tion. And then, shall, 

2. Speak in comparison of the way of his dealing with 
another sort of offending creatures, of an higher and nobler 
order than men. Now, 

1. To evince this general good-will to men, according 
to the absolute consideration that is to be had of it, I 
shall make use of two sorts of mediums or arguments to 
that purpose, 

(1.) Of such as are antecedent to a more express 
gospel revelation ; and which will therefore respect 
them that have not the gospel, or that never had it. 

(2.) Such as may be taken from the gospel itself, of 
which you have a summary, an epitome, in this same 

* Preached Janaary 19, 1604. 


angelical proclamation from heaven : it seeming suitable 
to the majesty of God, to make his angels, though not 
the ordinary ambassadors, yet the extraordinary ones, of 
this gracious declaration of his mind and counsel towards 

But as to both these sorts of arguments, I have this to 
advertise you, that the main thing I shall propose to my- 
self in alleging them, will not be so much the evincing 
of the truth in this matter : for that is clear in itself^ 
shines in its own light ; and indeed as to this part of 
God's general good-will to men, or that which is usually 
called common grace, I can have no adversary, we have 
none to oppose us in this thing, except Atheists. It is 
true, indeed, as to the other part, (his special grace,) there 
we have very subtil adversaries ; and when we come to that 
part, I do hope, through God's assistance, we shall be 
enabled to mamtain the truth against them. But here my 
more principal design is, to let you see, by the arguments 
1 shall allege, (which will clear the truth too,) the mighty 
importance of what we are now asserting, and to what 
purpose it is that we ought to assert this general good-will , 
of God to men. Indeed, that we shall have occasion 
more distinctly to shew, when we come to the use. 
But I shall hint some of the more eminent purposes 
now, that it may the more engage the attention of all 
our minds unto what is to be insisted on to this purpose. 

It will be of most direct use to convince, and (if it will 
seem good to God so far to bless his word) to mollify the 
hearts of hardened sinners that have yet nothing of special 
grace appearing to them, or in them, so as to make way 
for that, it being God's course to work methodically ; and 
to makethino;s, which have an aptitude thereto, subservient 
unto other things, that are to be consequent thereupon. 
It would certainly induce any, that would use their 
thoughts, to look upon it as a black and horrid thing to be, 
in the course of my life, with an obstinate, obdurate heart 
fighting continually against goodness itself, and against 
kindness and good-will. 

And it is ol' mighty importance, too, for the relieving 
of awakened and doubting souls, that may be hurried with 
terrors and temptations about their state God-wards ; and 
who, though (it may be) special grace hath taken place in 
them, yet think it hath not; so as to let them see what re- 
lief is yet in their case, (as black as it looks to be,) while 
they are under the dispensation of more general and com- 

LEc. xLv.) God's General Good-will to Men. 27 

mon grace, as hath a leadingness and tendency in it unto 

And there is that too, which will be of general import 
to all of us, every day, to wit, that we may be brought 
more to value, and to savour, and relish those mercies 
which commonly go into the account, and under the 
census of common mercies, of which (God knows) we have 
too little sense. It is a most unaccountable absurdity, 
(that 1 have often reflected on in my own thoughts,) that 
very generally mercies should be thought less valuable, for 
that vejy reason for which they are the more valuable. And 
so it is commonly in reference to those that are called 
common mercies : they are less valued for the self-same 
reason for which they should be more valued ; that is, 
because they come in an ordinary and in a constant course. 
As health, because it is constant, or is more ordinary, with 
the most, it may be, it is for that very reason less valued : 
but every body that considers, knows, that for that very 
reason it is the more valuable. It is better sure to have 
continual health, than health intermitted. So the use of 
our senses, our sight, (for instance,) the noblest of all the 
rest, because it is a common mercy, therefore it is cheap, 
and of less account with the most. How great a thing 
would it be thought, if a man should see but one hour in 
the day! How would the return of that hour belonged 
for! Or if but one day in the year ; O when will that day 
come ! We need to have the value enhanced more with 
us of such things as are indications of God's good-will 
towards men in general, that they may have their due 
weight with us, and that grateful savour and relish 
in our spirits which they challenge. And let us, therefore, 

1. Upon such considerations go on to take notice of 
those arguments of the first rank, those which lie without 
the compass of the gospel-revelation, that were antecedent 
to that more explicit revelation of it, and do fill a larger 
sphere and region than that whither the gospel light dif- 
fuses and extends itself: for though it be true that the text 
hath a special reference to that glorious revelation which 
was now to commence, we are not to think that this good- 
will was then first to commence, as if God did then but 
begin more distinctly and explicitly to own it, and speak 
it out ; but there were not obscure indications of it 
before, and which did commonly obtain all the world 
over, even there where gospel light obtained not. 

I shall, therefore, in speaking to that liead of arguments, 


shew what it is that men might collect (if they would use 
their thoughts and understandings aright) from such ap- 
pearances of divine favour towards them. And because 
that the reasonings of men may be looked upon as having 
an uncertainty in them, a sort of lubricity, and that we 
cannot with so much clearness conclude from mere argu- 
ings that are to be fetched from principles that lie without 
the compass of scripture ; lest any one should think 
them infirm upon that account, I shall shew you, as we go 
along, how scripture doth strengthen the same sort of argu- 
ments ; and how we are directed and prompted even by 
scripture itself, to make use of them to the same purposes. 
And that which I shall insist on, is, 

1. The very nature of God, whereof all men that have 
the use of their understandings, have or are capable of hav- 
ing some notion or other. For he hath stamped more or 
less of his nature upon the very nature of man, upon the 
human nature that carries in it a signature of God. There 
is somewhat that may be known of God in men generally. 
But there is no notion of God that is more obvious unto 
an}'^ that do apprehend the existence of a Deity at large, 
than that he is the Best of Beings, the first seat of all 
goodness, kindness, and benignity. And this revelation 
of God, though it be natural, it is from himself, who 
is the author of all nature, and of this very nature 
in special ; the immediate author, the author so as to 
be the exemplar of it to the human nature ; that is a 
godlike nature in its first origination. And we are con- 
firmed in it, that is not a false conception of God which 
we find to have obtained generally in the pagan world, 
Optimus Maximus, that hath been the common heathen 
language concerning him. But this is an impression 
from himself upon the mind of man, by which he is 
taught and instructed, even by nature itself, so to conceive 
of him. 

And he speaks agreeably hereunto of himself, when he 
tells us his name. There is this sculpture, this signature 
of his name upon the minds of men every where, till men 
have studiously and industriously abolished and rased it 
out, which yet totally they cannot do neither; not so, but 
that the remainders of such a notion as this, cleaving to 
their minds, do fill their souls with so much the more 
horror by intervals, that they have been lately engaged in 
a course of wickedness, and in an hostility even against the 
Best of Beings, against Goodness itself. Those pangs which 

LEc. XLV.) God's General Good-mil to Men. 29 

such do find at such times in their own spirits from a 
a secret and remaining suspicion^ that when they have 
done all they can to think God out of being, they have been 
but rolling a returning stone ; they have been but labour- 
ing for the wind ; they can effect nothing when the 
thoughts return upon them, when in spite of them they 
must be yet constrained to conceive with a certain 
formido, that God is, though it may have been the wish 
of their hearts, O that he were not ! then the main engine 
of their torture must be the apprehended goodness of 
God : For, 

Do but consider if indeed he is, (whom we would fain 
think into nothing if it were possible,) then it cannot be 
but he must excel in goodness; the first thing conceptible 
in his nature, must be goodness. Mere philosophy hath 
taught men so to think of God, to think of the God, as a 
notion antecedent unto that of power and might. They 
place that in the very summitude of all that excellency, 
which they ascribe to the Divine Being. And so when God 
himself will expressly tell us his name, the Lord, the Lord 
God, merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in 
goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and 
sin ; though he will in no wise clear the guilty — a thing 
most consistent with the most excellent goodness ; for 
that goodness were fatuity, were stolidity, that were 
unaccompanied with such a severity, that were unex- 
pressive of it. So he speaks of himself, who best knows 
his own nature, Exod. xx'xiv. 6, 7, &• And the scripture is 
full of it elsewhere. That there is such a natural notion as 
this generally obtaining in the minds of men, is above all 
demonstration, — that it cannot but be so, that it must be 
so; for what is universal, must proceed from an universal 
cause; but there is no universal cause, but God alone. 
And then, 

2. This good-will of God towards men, is to be further 
argued from his continuing of man (though apostate, 
though revolted from him) in a possession of those original 
excellencies of his nature, that were most essential to it, 
through the several successions of time so long. That is 
as to such excellencies as are essential to the nature 
of man, these he is pleased to continue man in the posses- 
sion of from age to age, and from generation to generation, 
though he be a revolted apostate creature. He might 
have transformed him into another thing. Men might 


have produced monsters from one generation to another, 
and that as a mark of divine severity, for that once 
they did apostatize. Into what an horrid thing might 
man have been turned upon the first transgression ; 
and so this habitable world be inhabited only by 
creatures that should be terrors to themselves, and one 
to another ! 

It may be said, that they are turned into worse than 
monsters by sin; and it is very true, they are so. But that 
is their own production, and not God's ; so they have 
made themselves, that is true : they are in a moral sense 
monsters; but so they are their miscreants; they 
might have been so in a natural sense, and that could 
have been no injury or reflection upon the Author of their 
nature. Merely natural evil is justly punitive of, and doth 
animadvert upon that, which is moral. 

But that it is not so ; that man should be still as to his 
naturals, the same intelligent creature that he was ; that he 
should from age to age appear upon the stage of this earth, 
with a mind and understanding capable of comprehending 
so great things; that this understanding power should be 
so many ways improveable ; that the soul to which it belongs 
should be so commodiously lodged in a tabernacle so 
curiously wrought by divine art, with God's own hand, 
and all the parts and members thereof written in his book ; 
a contemplation, that put the psalmist into a transport, 
" Fearfully and wonderfully was I made, and that my soul 
knoweth right well. And how precious are thy thoughts 
to me, O God!" They were these thoughts that he was 
reflecting on, concerning the very frame, and make, and 
nature of man, in that 139th Psalm, and which he considers 
in so high a rapture of spirit. 

We are encompassed with wonders, and we lake no 
noticeof them ; that such creatures as we should spring up 
in a succession, a noble sort of creatures, God-like — bearing 
the natural image of God upon us. Thus it is with man ; 
though revolted, yet God lets him live upon this earth, and 
propagate, and continue his kind. Let him (saith he) 
wear my image, to put him in mind, and that they may put 
one another in mind, whence they were, and who was the 
original of life and being to him, and of that nature which 
they have : a strange indulgence, and a most emphatical 
argument of the divine benignity, that he will let 
such creatures go up and down in this world, withx his 

LEC. XLV.) God's General Good-will to Men. 31 

image upon them, though they have fallen from him^ 
and are universally engaged in a war and hostility against 
him ! 

You have heard, heretofore, (and 1 hope generally have 
not forgotten, at least cannot be ignorant,) of the neces- 
sary distinction of the natural image of God and the moral. 
And this is the wonder, that where the moral image of 
God is gone, men have put it away and blotted it out, that 
yet the natural remains. And God lets it be so, and 
Jets such a sort of creatures still descend, and possess, 
and inhabit, this world ; minds, spirits, so commodiously 
lodged in so aptly figured tabernacles of flesh, where they 
have so many organs for the use and improvement of the 
reasonable and immortal mind, that is put into those taber- 
nacles as the inhabitant; by which it can exercise sense, 
and take in all the light, and lustre, and glory, of this world, 
and enjoy the sensitive objects wherewith it is so variously 
replenished. A continual argument of God's benignity 
and good-will towards men : but especially that he con- 
tinues him an intelligent understanding creature upon this 
earth. A thing that Pagans have been apprehensive of 
with gratitude; and it is a shame that we should not 
consider it more. It is that which history hath transmitted 
to us, concerning that noble Pagan, Plato, that when he 
\&y a dying, he solemnly gave God thanks that he had 
made him a jiian, and not a beast ; and that he had made 
him a Grecian, and not a Barbarian; and that he had made 
him to live in the time wherein Socrates lived, who was so 
great a luminary in his time. 

But how great things have we to recount as additional 
to the human nature. The human nature itself is that 
which I am now principally pointing at, as an argument to 
us, of God's good-will towards men, that he lets men 
continue as to their natural being, what they were through 
so many ages wherein they have been in an apostacy from 
him, and rebellion against him; especially when we consi- 
der that it is improveable; for religion hath its ground, 
its foundation in humanity, in the human nature ; otherwise, 
a brute or a stone might be a capable subject of religion. 
But inasmuch as God doth continue the human nature, 
and make that descend, he doth thereby continue capable 
subjects of religion, and capable subjects of blessedness; 
since religion and felicity are the two most connatural 
things to one another in all the world. And thus scripture 


doth also teach us to recount with ourselves ; to consider, 
to deduce, and make our collections from it, when it tells us 
of the spirit that is in man, and that the inspiration of the 
Almighty gives him understanding, to make him wiser than 
the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the field. And when 
we are elsewhere told that the spirit of a man is the candle 
of the Lord, searching into the inward parts of the belly; 
to wit, into the most abstruse and hidden things, 
those that are most recondite within a man's-self. And, 

3. This is a further argument of God's good-will towards 
men, generally considered, that they are taught and prompt- 
ed even by nature itself, to consider and look upon God as 
some way related to them; to look upon him as upon a 
natural account, a father to them. For this is a true ac- 
count. It is true, also, that there is a more special notion 
under which he is so to some, as we shall have occasion 
hereafter to shew ; but he is so in a common notion too. 
So natural light hath taught men to account and reckon 
when they have spoken of God as the paternal mind. They 
have considered themselves as all having minds, and they , 
have conceived of the divine mind, as the paternal mind, 
the Father of all those minds. They have spoken of them- 
selves as God's offspring, and you see the scripture quotes 
that from one of their writers, and approves and justifies 
the notion. Acts xvii. 28. " We are all his off"spring, as one 
of your own Poets hath affirmed." The thing is true, (saith 
he,) your own Poets have spoken thus concerning men^ 
that they are the offspring of God : and they have appre- 
hended the matter aright; they are so, he is upon a natural 
account a father to them : as Adam is said to be the Son 
of God on the same account. 

And it is a conception that carries a gleam of light with 
it, that God should style himself the Father of spirits, but 
more particularly the God of the spirits of all flesh, as in 
that. Numbers xxvii. \6. It is true, that he is in a more 
particular way and sense the God of some. But they are 
his own words, to call himself also the God of all, of all 
spirits that inhabit and dwell in flesh. He doth not call 
himself the God of another sort of spirits, that inhabit not 
flesh, that have sinned against him, that are apostate spi- 
rits; (as the soirits of men also are;) but he calls himself 
the God of the spirits of all flesh, implying, that he hath • 
not universally abandoned the spirits of men. As if he 

LBc. XLV.) God's General Good-will to Men. 33 

should have said, " I do not renounce, I do not quit all 
claim to them, I have affairs to transact with them, as I 
have not with those other spirits, that are thrown out of my 
sight, and bound up in chains of darkness, and reserved to 
the judgment of the great day;" as I shall have occasion 
more directl}' to speak, when I come to speak of God's good 
will to men, considered comparative!}' with the course of 
his dispensation towards that other order of apostate crea- 
tures. And, 

4. The constant exercise of God's patience is a great ar- 
gument of his good-will towards men. This is that whereof 
they not only have a notion in their minds, comprehended 
and included in that common notion of his benignity and 
goodness, but they have experience of it in fact; and it is 
from that I am now arguing: and it is a mighty cogent 
and convictive argument of God's good-will, if it be but 
considered what men have to argue from, in reference 
hereunto, especially these two topics, their own guilt, and 
God's power. 

Their own guilt ; whereof, since man hath been a sinner, 
he hath had some natural conscience of guilt always accom- 
panying him. And more or less men have consciences ac- 
cusing and excusing, by turns, as the matter lies in view 
before us, Romans ii. 15. >Jow let recourse be had to that 
topic of men's own guiltiness, that hath deserved ill at the 
hands of God ; this is a common notion with men. Many 
of your heathens, though they do not know how the apos- 
tacy came about, have generally granted that man was in a 
state of apostacy ; that he is not in the state that he was at 
first made in, but in a degenerate sinful state; and it is 
spoken of as a thing common to men, what I noted to you 
but now, out of Romans ii. 15., that they carry accusing 
consciences about with them. I say, then, do but consi- 
der that topic, and from thence go to the other, that of 
the divine power: and nothing is more obvious to men, 
(if they will use their thoughts,) than to consider this, that 
he that made such a world as this, can easily right him- 
self upon such creatures as we are in a moment, at his 
pleasure. Then lay but these two things together, (which 
are obvious to common apprehension,) that we are guilty 
creatures, and he is an omnipotent God ; we have deserved 
that he should severely animadvert upon us, and he can 
do it at pleasure; hath it in his power to do it when he 
will; and yet we are spared. What doth all this signify, 
but a continual miracle of divine patience ? And what is 



that to be resolved into, but divine goodness f '' Despisest 
thou the riches of his goodness and long suffering, not 
knowing that the goodness of God should lead thee to re- 
pentance ?" 

When we argue from hence to persuade sinners to turn 
unto God, do we argue from a feigned thing ? Is it not a 
great reality from which we are thus directed to argue, 
when the Scripture itself gives us the direction ? It teaches 
men so to consider the matter themselves, as in that, 2 Peter 
iii. 9, 10. " The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as 
some men count slackness ; but he is long-suffering, not will- 
ing that any should perish ; but that they may come to the 
knowledge of the truth, and be saved." And we are to ac- 
count the long-suffering of the Lord salvation. What doth 
he bear with an offending creature for, in so continued a 
course, when he hath so many advantages against him, so 
many thunderbolts in command at a moment? Why doth 
he spare, when the creature is guilty, and he is mighty ? 
And yet he spares: what judgment is to be made of all 
this \ Why, the Apostle tells you : Count the long-suffer- 
ing of the Lord salvation ; to wit, that he doth use this me- 
thod as an apt medium, as a proper means to bring men to 
consider : and if they will not consider, they are loading 
themselves with guilt; so much the more, when they will 
not consider what is so obvious, what lies so much in view 
before them. And I might add, again, this farther argu- 
ment, from, 

5. The common exercise of God's bounty towards the 
children of men ; that is, that he doth not only spare, but 
sustain them; not only withhold and keep oft" from them 
destructive evils, but supply them needful good things. 
That he should preserve this world in so much consistency, 
for the use and entertainment of offending and rebellious 
creatures, those that seldom or never take notice of him, 
and rarely ever give him thanks. That this earth should be 
so strangely fertile, through all the successions of time, and 
productive of so delicious things, so pleasant things ; not 
only such things as are necessary for the support of human 
life, but such things as are delectable too, yielding a pleas- 
ing entertainment to man during his residence and abode 
here. Oh, the riches of the Divine goodness towards apos- 
tate, degenerate, fallen creatures ! These very things have 
a ducture, a leadingness with them. When God doth imme- 
diately please and gratify sense, there is an aptitude in this 
to instruct minds to reach the understandings of men, to 

LEC. XLV.) God's General Good-will to Men. 35 

oblige and prompt men to consider whence all this is, and 
upon what terms, and for what ends and purposes. 

There are divers other things congenerous to these, which 
I cannot go through with now, as the continual care that 
be takes of men's lives, that he hath put a self-preserving 
principle into men. It is true, that is natural, but how 
came it to be so ? It is from the Author of all nature, 
he could have made (if he had pleased) the contrary as natu- 
ral ; that he hath prompted men to live in societies for 
common mutual defence ; that he hath so severely threat- 
ened the sin of homicide, of killing or destroying a man ; 
and for that very reason, because he bears his image. " This 
creature of mine I will not have touched, for he carries my 
image upon him : I will not have any violence offered to 
my image." That he did take so particular a care even of 
that wicked Cain himself; put his mark upon him, lest any 
finding him should slay him. It speaks a strange tendency 
of man, (though now an apostate,) that there is a peculiar 
sacredness put upon the life of man, beyond all other crea- 
tures that do inhabit this earth ; because this is an improve- 
able life; this is a thing that may be grafted upon ; noble 
grafts may be inserted here into an human life; there- 
fore, that I will have counted precious, and preserved as 
such ; so as, that if any man shall make a breach upon the 
human life, he shall break through my law, which 1 set as 
a boundary and guard, to preserve so valuable and so pre- 
cious a thing. 

And then he takes such care for the keeping up of com- 
mon order in this world, that he hath appointed magis- 
tracy, government, and laws, in order hereunto, that all 
may not run into confusion. They must break his laws 
before they can break one another's peace ; that he hath 
obliged men to the mutual love of one another, wherein, 
if it were observed and complied with, what a calm peace- 
ful region would this world be! So that men might have 
an opportunity to consider, at leisure, the greater concern- 
ments of another world. He hath, as to this, done several, 
things most highly becoming the goodness and benignit}'^ 
of a God towards such creatures as we were become. 

And then the obligation that he holds men under unto na- 
tural religion, and the several exercises of it. Here is a 
mighty demonstration of his good-will towards men, that 
he will not dispense with them as to this thing; but as 
common as human nature is, so common is his law running 
in that nature, obliging men to some religion or other ; in 

D 2 


general to be religious, obliging tbem unto the several 
principles and duties of natural religion ; to trust in God, 
and to love him as their supreme good, with all their heart 
and soul, and might, and mind, which is a natural law : 
to pray to him, to praise him, and give him thanks. And 
that, whereas he is pleased to have an house, a dwelling 
here on earth, that house is called the house of prayer to all 
nations, and he will have all flesh come to him ; and com- 

f)lains that they do not come to him, nor will come. M^hen 
ooking down upon the children of men, to see who inquires 
and seeks after God, he finds all gone out of the way, that 
they will not do this ; that they will not say. Where is God 
my Maker ? This he complains of. 

All this carries a mighty argument in it, that there is 
still a good-will in iieaven towards men on earth, as neg- 
lectful of God and themselves as the children of men are 
generally become. And it is necessary that men should 
understand, and now that when they are charged, when 
God doth so highly cTiarge them with sinning against his 
goodness, it is not a nullity that they are charged to offend 
against, in all their neglects of God : and, in justice to him, 
we are obliged to heighten and magnify his goodness to 
men ; that so such as will never be won and overcome by 
this goodness of his, may be so much the more glorious 
trophies to that Justice which will vindicate the wrong 
upon them at last. 


I. On the gospel recommending itself to every 

man's conscience. Seven sermons, from 2 Cor. 

IV. 2. 

II. They to whom the gospel is hid, are lost soul^. 

Six sermons, from 2 Cor. iv. 3. 

III. On hope. Fourteen sermons, from Rom. viii. 24. 

IV. Friendship with God. Ten sermons, from James 

II. 23. 

V. On Regeneration. Thirteen sermons, from 1 John 

V. 1. 





iJommeHding ourselves to everi/ man's conscience in the sight 

of God. 

Ihese words, joined with what goes before, run thus: 
*^ therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received 
raercy, we faint not : but have renounced the hidden things 
of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handhng the 
word of God deceitfully ; but, by manifestation of the 
truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience." 
The import of this text and context is exceeding plain. 
The Apostle gives an account in them of his way in ma- 
naging that work of the ministry, wherein he was engaged ; 
that is, that his way of managing thereof was suitable to 
his end ; his method to the design he drove at : he gives 
irj the whole verse a double account of his way in ma- 
naging his ministerial work — A negative account, and a 

]. A negative one, we have nothing to do in it, (as if he 
had said,) with the things of dishonesty or shame. Those 
things we have renounced ; those hidden things that are 
wont to be accompanied with the pungent stings of shame 
and disgrace, (if they should not be hid.) That is, we 
have nothing to do with any thing whereof we have cause 
to be ashamed. Let them hide themselves, and their de- 
signs, and work in the dark ; let them wear masks and 
vizards, and transact their affairs under ground, and with 
all possible privacy, who drive designs that they have rea- 

* Preached January 11, 1690. 

D 4 


son to be ashamed of; whose business is either to trifle, 
or to do hurt; whose designs are either too low or little 
for wise men, or too base for good men. We, for our parts, 
design nothing but the service of God, the honour of 
Christ, and (as that which is subservient to these) the wel- 
fare of men. This is all that we aim at, that we may serve 
God, honour Christ, and bring in as many souls as we can 
unto him. We intend no worse to the world and the inha- 
bitants of it, than to our utmost to make them good and 
happy christians in this world, and glorious creatures in 
another world. 

And, therefore, all we have to do may very well be 
transacted above ground, and upon the square; we have no 
occasion to walk in craftiness, to use fraudulent arts or 
tricks ; our business requires it not ; nor do we need to 
handle the word of God deceitfully: we do not falsify 
(so the word signifies) it, disguise it, clothe it with other 
colours ; for as it naturally looks with its own, it serves our 
purpose best of all, if we give it no other appearance or 
representation, than that which is still genuine and most 
proper to itself. We do none of these things that are men- 
tioned in the former part of the verse. And then comes, 

2. The positive account in the latter part of the verse. 
" By manifestation of the truth," we make it our business to 
commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight 
of God. Where the last of these words do sufficiently 
express that sense which 1 design to insist upon in some 
following discourses. And herein, we see there is 
a principle in man, (here called conscience,) that renders 
him, in some measure, capable of judging what is proposed 
to him in the name of God, or under the notion of divine, — 
whether as such it ought to be received, or refused as not 
such. And here we have it signified to us, that there is in 
the great things of God, contained in the gospel, or which 
the gospel revelation doth suppose, a self-recommending 
evidence, by which such things do (as it were) approve 
themselves to that principle : and he lets us see that the 
faithful preachers of this gospel have the whole business 
directly and immediately lying with the consciences of 
men; or that they are to apply themselves to that principle 
in man called conscience. And further, that this treaty 
with the consciences of men is to be managed under divine 
inspection, under the eye of God. 

And this being the import of the words considered in 
themselves; if also you consider them in their relation to 

SER. I.) Import of the Context. 41 

what goes before ; so the import of the context, and of 
them, as they fall into it, will be most plain. In the close 
of the foregoing chapter, the Apostle having spoken above 
of the gospel ministration, as contra-distinguished to that 
of the law, and most highly excelling it in point of light, 
and in point of efficacy ; both of them glorious things, 
and in respect whereof, he calls it the ministration of 
glory ; so that, though that of mount Sinai was very glo- 
rious, yet this did so much excel it in glory, that the 
very glory of that was no glory, in comparison of the 
glory of this ; for that by it, we, as in a glass (he so 
concludes the chapter) beholding the glory of the Lord, 
are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even 
as by the Spirit of the Lord. That as is not similitudinis 
but identitatis ; it doth not signify likeness, but sameness: 
that is, there is so transforming a work wrought by the 
glory of the Lord shining through the glass, as doth speak 
Its author to be the Spirit; such a work is done as none 
but the Divine Spirit could do ; so that any one might 
see there was such a transformation wrought, as by 
the Spirit of the Lord is wont to be wrought; the Spirit 
doth like itself, as itself, it works as a Divine Almighty 
Spirit might be expected to do in this case. This is the 
account which he gives of the ministry, wherein he was 

Now, in the beginning of this next chapter, it runs thus; 
—having received such a ministry as this, (so apt and so 
animated to serve its proper end and purpose,) " as we have 
received mercy, we faint not ;" he resolves the vigour, and 
fortitude, and undauntedness of his heart in this great 
work, that was put into his hands, into the nature and kind 
of this ministry wherewith he was intrusted ; considered in 
its own aptitude to serve its end, as it was managed and 
replenished with power and efficacy from the Divine 
Spirit. Having such a ministry, we faint not, we go on 
with all vigour and resolvedness imaginable in our work. 
And, tliereupon, renounce all the hidden things of disho- 
nesty, we go on with open face, as being well assured we 
shall be owned in our work one way or another ; and make 
it our business hereupon, to apply ourselves immediately 
and directly to the consciences ot men in the sight of God. 
And these several things, upon the whole, may be observed 
and taken up for our instruction and use from this portion 
of scripture. 

1. That the great things of the gospel, or of religion in 


general, do carry with them a self-recommending evidence 
to the consciences of men. 

2. That the business of the faithful ministers of this 
gospel lies, first and most immediately, in a transaction with 
men's consciences about these things. 

3. That this transaction with men's consciences about 
such things, is to be managed in the sight of God, under 
the inspection of the Divine Mind. And, 

4. That thereupon, such as are engaged with uprightness 
and fidelity in this work, have the most vigorous and un- 
fainting resolution and fortitude in it. 

1 begin with the first. 

1st. Doctrine. That the great things of the gospel, or of 
religion, do carry with them a self-recommending evidence 
to the consciences of men. Here, 

1. It will be requisite to say somewhat concerning the 
principle of conscience. And, 

2. Then to evince the truth of the assertion, that the 
great things of the gospel, or religion, do carry with them 
a self-recommending evidence to men's consciences. 

1. It is requisite to be said concerning conscience, thus 
much briefly ; to wit, that it is a principle which is to be 
appealed to about such matters ; and this doth, in the 
general notion of it, import an ability to judge, a certain 
dijudicative power. And it must be looked upon accord- 
ing to a double reference which it bears; — 1st. To the 
matter which it is to judge about. And, 2ndly. To the 
Supreme Ruler under whom it is to judge, such things 
being to be judged of in the sight of God ; for the latter 
of these references we shall come to speak to it under 
another observation : but for the former, we are to consider 
of it now. 

Conscience, it doth import a power of judging, or an abi- 
lity to judge about such and such-matters ; but what those 
matters are, we are more particularly to consider. In the 
general, it is matter of duty about which conscience is to 
judge; or such things in reference whereunto we are one 
way or other under obligation to do, or not to do. And so 
it is the actions of men, that conscience is to judge about; 
as they are measurable by laws and rules to which they are 
properly and truly obliged. And so our actions may be 
considered two ways — either as to be done, or as done. 
And they come under the judgment and cognizance of 
conscience, both ways — either as to be done, or as done; 
and 80 the judgment of conscience is two-fold, either con- 

SEH. I. Doctrine of the Text. 43 

cerning things, or concerning ourselves; for conscience 
hath both its prospect and its retrospect : — its prospect, that 
is, as it is to see our way before us, and to judge for us. 
Am 1 to do this, or am 1 to do that, or am I to let it alone ; 
and decline doing such and such things ? Here is the 
prospect of conscience; it is to discern and make a judg- 
ment aforehand, concerning the way that we are to take, 
to see our way for us. And then it hath its retrospect ; 
when we come to make a stand, and look back upon our 
former course in general, or upon this or that particular 
action, Have I done well, or have I done ill ? have I held a 
strict and regular course ? or have I made a wrong or 
false step ? 

Now for conscience under this latter notion; that is, 
for the retrospect of conscience, 1 have had occasion to 
speak to it at large, in the hearing of many of you, from 
another scripture, that of 2 Cor. i. 12. This is our rejoicing, 
the testimony of our conscience; — here is the exercise of 
conscience in reference to what is past, in reference to a 
course transacted already. So that you may plainly see 
our present subject doth not lead us to consider conscience 
under that notion at all ; but only to consider it according 
to its prospect, as it doth prospicere. As it looks forward 
to discern and make a judgment; — Is such a course to be 
taken .'' or are such and such things directed to be com- 
plied with, yea or no .'' 

And so the matter of which conscience is to judge is of 
this kind ; to wit, what we are to do, or our actions as they 
are future, or to be done, must be taken with a latitude; so 
as not barely or chiefly to concern our external actions, 
the actions of the outward man ; no, nor merely or only 
to concern those actions of the inward man, that proceed 
immediately from the will, and from the affections, and 
from the executive power in the first rise of it; but also 
so as to comprehend, and take in too, the actions of the 
mind and understanding; — all this is within the compass 
of this matter, about which, conscience is to be exercised. 
We are not to consider what is to be done by the reflective 
faculty, but what is to be done by the directive faculty, 
the mind and understanding itself; that is, whether such and 
such things propounded to us, be to be assented to, yea or 
no. This is as much matter of conscience as any thing else ; 
that is, the assenting or not assenting of our minds and 
understandings to such and such things ; supposing they 
are things in reference whereunlo we come under obhga- 


tion ; suppose ihat they are not such things wherein we 
are left at Hberty to judge and think as we please, as we 
are in multitudes ol' theological speculations, wherein we 
are not laid under a law, as a main duty, to know, and 
understand, and observe, and mind such things. But this 
refers to such things wherein our giving our assent so and 
so, it is made matter of duty ; or m reference whereunto, 
we are laid under an obligation. All that doth come as 
much within the compass of that matter, wherein consci- 
ence is to judge as any thing else : that is, these acts of our 
minds, which are to be exerted and put forth immediately 
there, as they are part of our duty, about which we are 
accountable at last ; so they are matters of conscience, 
and in reference whereunto conscience must, and ought to 
have too, a present exercise before hand. Am I so or so to 
assent, or am I not i' Thus, by manifestation of the truth, 
we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the 
sight of God. 

And so much is all that we need to say concerning the 
former of these heads, the principle that is to be applied 
unto, and to which the things of religion do, by a self- 
recommending evidence, approve themselves. 

2. The second thing we have to do, is to evince and clear 
this to you, that there is such a self-recommending evidence 
in the things of religion, by which they become approved^ 
or do approve themselves to the very consciences of men. 
And here,that you may understand this aright, what it is that 
I am to prove and make out to you, — you are not to take 
it thus, as though every thing that lies within the compass 
of truth, and which we are accordingly to embrace and 
close with, were self-evident; so as at first sight it must 
necessarily beget a conviction in a man's judgment and 
conscience, that it ought to be entertained and closed with ; 
that is not the meaning; every thing in religion that hath 
competent evidence with it, hath not that primary evi- 
dence as immediately, as soon, as it is heard and proposed, 
to command the mind to close in with it. But the mean- 
ing is this, that whereas there are some things of that kind 
that carry their own light so apparently in them as to 
captivate the mind into a present consent ; there are many 
other things that are capable of being clothed with that 
light, or having that evidence added to them, by which 
they also may be enabled to recommend themselves. Every 
truth, is not a first truth ; but there is nothing which 
God hath made it necessary to the salvation of our souls 

SER. I.) ■ -JBy its Truths. 45 

to give entertainment unto ; but that, if it be not evident 
in itself, it is capable of being so evidenced, as that it may, 
by that evidence (at least) that shall be added thereto, 
come to recommend itself to men's consciences, unless 
they be men so under the power of a vitious prejudice, 
and abandoned by God for their indulgence thereunto, that 
(as it follows in the next words) the gospel is onl)^ hid to 
them, because they are lost. " If our gospel be hid, it is hid 
to them that are lost." And it is hid to them for having 
rebelled and sinned against the light of it so long ; and this 
being the point, we come now to make it out to you, 
that the great things of religion, which we are to give 
entertainment to, as necessary to our final welfare and 
blessedness, they are things that cnrry with them such a 
self-recommending evidence to the consciences of men ; 
they carry it with them, either as being primary self-evident 
truths, or as being capable of being evidenced by such 
things as are so ; that is, either by their own light, or by 
such a light as may be imparted to them, and wherewith 
they may fairly admit to be clothed. 

And the way of proving this, will be fittest and most 
proper, by giving instances ; by instancing to you in divers 
of the most important things which we are required to 
give entertainment to, in order to our final salvation and 
blessedness ; — and so to submit the matter to your own 
judgment, whether these things do not recommend them- 
selves to conscience, yea or no ; which is the best and most 
effectual way of proving any thing, when the inward sense 
of our mind is immediately directed to; we appeal to that 
immediately, so that you have the judgment in your own 
breast or bosom, concerning this or that thing. Is it 
not clear, doth it not speak itself in my own conscience ? 

And the instances I shall give, will be especially under 
these four heads ; — to wit, 1st. Of Truths. — 2ndly. Of Pre- 
cepts. — Srdly. Of Prohibitions; and 4thly. Of Judgments. 

1. Of Truths, you must understand that I am only going 
to give instances under each of these heads ; otherwise, 
you must suppose that the whole body of theology would 
be the subject of our present discourse, as every thing 
would come in here that belongs to the substance of a 
theological treatise. And that (as I was saying) I may 
instance, first, in truths propounded to us, they will be of 
two sorts, — Positive and Argumentative;^ — Positive, those 
that we simply lay down; or Argumentative, those that in 
the way of argumentation may be annexed to the former. 


either, first, as reasons to prove them ; or, secondly, as 
inferences and deductions proved by them. And this 
order and reference, which one truth may have to another, 
we are not to understand it so, as if there must be con- 
stantly that methodical relation, or a relation in that 
method ; for the relation may be transposed, according as 
this or that particular discourse may be. But 1 shall give 
you instances of these together, or as now they may be 
represented to relate to one another ; and so shall briefly 
instance to you; — 1st. In those truths that do concern 
the original of all things. — 2ndly. That do concern the 
apostacy and fall of man. — Srdly. Some that do concern 
the redemption by the Son of God ; and 4thly. Some that 
do concern the final issue of all things. 

1. For those that do concern the original of all things, 
take these, 

(1.) That this world, (look upon it as one system, one 
complexion,) it is all a made thing. 

This whole universe, it is all a made thing; why sure, 
either this hath such light with it, that any conscience of 
a considering man must presently say, it is true, in my 
conscience it is true ; or it will easily be made evident. 
It is one of the great things (as being of natural revelation) 
that is mightily insisted upon by philosophers, as funda- 
mental to all things else. You find that so the Deity was 
proved by the apostle in that text we so lately insisted on, 
Kom. i. 20. " The invisible things of God, even his eternal 
power and godhead, are clearly seen by the things that 
are made;" by this whole entire scheme and frame of made 
things. " By faith, we understand that the worlds were 
framed by the word of God." Heb. xi. 2. Thus largely too 
doth the apostle discourse the efficiency of the Creator, 
Acts xvii. in a very great part of that chapter. And so 
the account is given in the very beginning of that revela- 
tion of the mind of God to man contained in the Bible. 
Gen. i. 1. It begins with the beginning of all things. *' In 
the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." 
And so too doth that gospel, John i. 1.2. wrote by the 
Evangelist. lohn : " In the beginning was the word, and the 
word was with God, and the word was God: by him were 
all things made that were made." Now this is a matter 
that will let its light appear, if you will but revolve it a 
little in your minds, and think of it ; for you manifestly see 
that all this world is full of changes; but tlicrc can be no 
change of a necessary Being; of a self-existing Being; 

SER. 1.) By its Truths. 47 

what exists necessarily, and of itself, must be always as it 
is ; whence that goes for a maxim with all that have set 
themselves to consider, Eternum non patitiir novum : That 
which is eternal, admits of no innovation, nothing of new 
in it. And the matter would yet carry more convictive and 
clearer evidence to those that are less apt or less used to 
the exercise of thoughts, if they would but bring it to their 
own case ; that is, suppose it be told you in particular, you 
are a creature, you are a made thing; let this be said to 
any body that hath the use of the ordinary understanding 
of a man with him, and it presently strikes the conscience; 
it is very true, I, in my own conscience, judge it true, 1 am 
a made thing. If any should hesitate at it, do but take a 
turn or two m thinking, and the matter would strike you 
with fresh light again and again. Why, what ? Do not 
ye know that you have been in being but a little while ? 
It is but so many years ago, and you were not ; no such one 
as you was heard of in the world. Whatsoever began to be, 
must be a made thing. You did but lately begin to be, it is 
plain then you have been made; for nothing could of itself 
begin to be, or arise out of nothing of itself. That strikes 
every man's conscience that considers. Do not you, in 
your consciences, think and judge, that if nothing were in 
being, nothing could ever be in being ? It is impossible 
tliat any thing should arise up of itself out of nothing. 
Therefore, if you begin to be, you are a made thing. 
And then, 

2ndly. There are truths that will belong to this, by way 
of revelation and deduction. As then, 

(1.) You have a Maker ; every made thing must have a 
maker; do not your consciences tell you that this is true? 
In my conscience this is true, if I be a made thing, then I 
must have a maker. And then, again, 

(2.) You may collect what kind of maker that must be; 
what kind of thing am I ? I said, (among other things be- 
longing to me,) there is a power of thought belonging to 
me; 1 have then a spiritual intellectual nature belonging 
to me ; and therefore, certainly, such excellencies as 1 
have in me, and as I find the rest of the creation hath in it, 
must be in the Maker of them all, much more eminently, 
and much more transcendently. And, therefore, as the 
apostle speaks, when he had said from a pagan, — " In him 
we live and move, and have our being; and we are all his 
offspring;" he immediately subjoins. Acts xvii. 28, 29. 


" For as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think 
that the Godhead is like unto silver and gold, or stone 
graven by the art of man/' If there be such and such 
things that are the effects of an invisible divine power of 
the Godhead; that is, if there be intellectual and spiritual 
beings, then he must be such an one : and then we are no 
longer (saith the apostle) to amuse and mislead ourselves 
with the foolish misconceit of a golden deity, or of a 
wooden and stone deity. The deity must be such a being 
as hath such excellencies belonging to it, as we find are in 
his offspring. We find he hath an offspring of an intelligent 
and spiritual nature, and therefore, sure, siich must he be. 
And again, 

(3.) It will be further recollected, that if I am a made 
thing, a creature, and thereupon, have a maker, 1 have 
also an owner too, as well as a maker; he that made me, 
must be my owner and proprietor ; and to him I must 
belong, and in his power I am ; and I must be at his dis- 
posal ; and he may do with me what he will, and I am to 
do with myself only what he will have me do. Doth this 
not also strike conscience ? Doth not this approve itself 
to every conscience of man ? Am I a made thing ? Then 
he that made me, owns, and he is to use me as his own. 
And again, 

(4.) Am I a made thing, and do therefore appear to have 
a maker, and to have an owner ? Then I have a ruler too ; 
one that is to prescribe to me, and give me laws ; to tell me 
what I am to do, and what not, through the whole of my 
course. This speaks to every conscience of man; every man 
that will use conscience in the case, must needs say, 
In my conscience, this is true; it cannot but be true. 
And again, 

(5.) If I have such a maker, one that is the author and 
original of my Hfe and being to me ; he that is the author, 
must be the end of it; he that is the first to me, must be 
the last also, t am a creature, and a made thing ; I did 
not come of myself into the world ; and what could not be 
by itself, must not be for itself. Will not any man's con- 
science say this is true? Is not conscience smitten with 
light in this case? Methinks this doth recommend itself 
to my very conscience. I, that could never have come 
by myself into this world ; I must not live in it for myself; 
it is inconsistent with the state of a creature to be its own 
end. Thus, in this kind, you may find there are things that 

SER. I.) Bjf its Truths. 49 

concern the original of all things, that do by their own 
light recommend themselves to the consciences of men. 
And then, 

2. Concerning the apostacy of man. To instance briefly 
therein man is a fallen creature; he is not in the state that 
was original to him or primitive, or wherein he was made, ' 
This, (one would think,) in the first speaking or hearing, 
should strike conscience with its own light ; but if it should 
not with any that are more stupid and less considerate, 
let men but refer themselves to their own original state 
and nature, consider their nature abstract, and then com- 
, pare themselves with what they may easily discern and find 
of their present state and case. 

The most general consideration that you can have of, 
or concerning your own nature is, I am a sort of creature, 
that can think, that can use thoughts well ; do but look 
to your present state, the common state of men according 
to that representation and description that is given us of 
it; " all the imaginations of the thoughts of man's heart 
are only evil, and that continually." Gen. vi. 5. What? 
can any man imagine that God did make a thinking crea- 
ture ; endowed a creature with a power of thought, ori- 
ginall}' from the beginning, to think nothing but what was 
evil, and continually evil? And let but men see whether 
this be not a true account of themselves, that the scripture 
gave so long ago. If they would but inspect and look 
into themselves, would they not be inforced to say, Have I 
not thoughts full of vanity, full of earthliness, full of 
impurity, from day to day? And, unless they be imposed 
and thrust in upon me, am I not a stranger to serious 
thoughts, to divine thoughts, to heavenly thoughts ? 
Therefore the matter will again strike conscience with its 
own light. I am not only a creature, but a fallen crea- 
ture ; sure God never made me such a creature as I am 
become, as I have made myself; a creature, endowed with 
so noble intellectual powers, to debase myself; to make 
so sublime a thing, as an intelligent immortal mind, per- 
petually to grovel in the dust, and enslave itself to sensual 
and brutal lusts, and to mean and base designs that time 
measureth ; and to leave myself to sink and perish eternally 
at length ; so that to this very soul and spirit, for want of 
being employed about a good suitable to itself, and means 
and methods of compassing that, nothing but misery can be 
its portion. The thing speaks itself; 1 am a fallen crea- 
ture, and as long as this continues my posture, and the 
state and temper of my mind and spirit, I may see the 



matter will issue ill at last. I am a degenerate creature, 
especially if it be considered how the stream and current 
ot ray thoughts and affections run out towards other things, 
as they stand in competition with the eternal, ever-blessed 
God ; for can any man think God made a creature to 
despise Iwiiiseifi' To neglect himself, and to prefer the 
most despicable vanities before himself, when he hath made 
him capable of knowing, minding, adoring, and serving 
him ? Thence also it would be collected, 1 may hence 
judge, whether also my present state is a safe state, or a 
bad state. It is a lamentable thing to be a fallen creature, 
fallen from its pristine excellency ; and it may easily be 
collected hence, it is an unsafe state; for if 1 am fallen 
low already, 1 am still liable to fall lower; and 1 cannot 
tell whether 1 may fall, how low I may sink, and what 
finally will become of me; for 1 am falling lower and lower 
all the wiiile I am a stranger to God, and a vassal to sensual 
inclinations. And 1 here again appeal, doth not all this 
speak to conscience? And doth not every one find in him- 
self somewhat to which all this doth approve itself, and 
commend itself; so that he must needs say, In my very 
conscience this is true ? I cannot now run through what 
I have to say hereupon. Pause hereupon a little, and 
consider what this is like to come to at last, if a man do, 
in a stated continual course from day to day, and from 
year to year, run counter to the judgment of his own 
conscience; if he lives continually a rebel against con- 
science, (for that is to be a rebel against God too,) what 
will it come to ? Oh ! might that be but seriously consi- 
dered of, sure it would be of use to us, to bring us to a 
suitable disposition to hear of other things that will be of 
the greatest followine: concernment to us, in order to our 
future and eternal welfare. 



Commending ourselves to every man's conscience. 

That which we have in hand of the several things ob- 
served to you from the text and context, is. That the 
great things of religion do carry with them a self- 

* Preached January 18, 1690. 

SKR. II.) J3y Us Truths. &\ 

recommending evidence to the consciences of men. And 
we have shewn, first, what that principle is, here called 
conscience. And, secondly, have touched upon the proof 
of the assertion. 

The principle itself which is to be applied and appealed 
to, was considered as to its prospect and retrospect. As 
to the former, it is the business of conscience to see 
before us, to discern the way we are to go. If a 
man do not, with good conscience, proceed in his way ; 
if he go wavering, and with a suspenseful mind, and in 
continual doubt, shall I, in so doing, do right or wrong f 
Such an one can never steer his course acceptably to God, 
or comfortably to himself; and, according to its retros- 
pect, conscience is to make a stand, look back upon the 
way that a man hath taken, and thereupon make its 
judgment ; whether lie hath done aright, or wrong, in either 
respect^ conscience is to judge; to judge of practice both 
as to what is done, and what is to be done ; and it is prin- 
cipally conscience, in reference to its prospect, that we 
have to do with it here; thouo;h it is one and the same 
principle that doth both ; and the turn is quick and easy, 
from looking forward to what we are to do, to looking 
backward to see what we have done ; and to see what 
may belong to us by way of reward, or by way of penalty 

And so we proceed to prove the assertion ; and here again 
you were told, that both such things as are within the disco- 
very of natural light, and which relate to religion; and such 
things too, as aresuper-naturally revealed one way or other, 
come to have this self-recommending evidence to the con- 
sciences of men ; and this we proposed to prove to you, 
by some instances, upon which such an appeal is to be 
made to conscience itself, which is the clearest and most 
convictive way of proving any thing in the world ; when 
we therein speak to the very inward sense of a man's own 
mind. And we propounded to give instances, under these 
four heads; to wit, of truths, of precepts, of prohibitions, 
and of judgments, or Divine determinations concerning 
what is due unto a person, as he is found complying, or 
not complying, with the divine preceptive will, in point of 
penalty or reward. 

We did propose to give instances of truths which con- 
cern — 1st. The beginning of all things. — 2ndly. The apos- 
tacy of man. — Srdly. His redemption by Christ; — and 
4thly. The final issue of all things. And as to the two 

E 2 


first of these, you had instances the last day. Now to 
go on, 

3. To instance somewhat concerning the redemption of 
man by Christ ; as that man, being in so lost and forlorn 
a condition, God did send his own Son down into this 
world to be a Redeemer and Saviour to him. This is a 
thing, not evident at first sight ; it was not upon the 
first proposal discovered ; it is not as soon as we hear 
it evident to any of us; but it may admit to be 
clothed with that evidence wherewith it must recom- 
mend itself to the consciences of such as shall consider. 
There is enough to make it plain, both who he was that 
came under the notion of a Redeemer into this world, 
and what he came for; that doing the part of a Redeemer, 
was really the design and end of his coming. 

1. Who he was. That he was what he gave himself out 
to be, the Son of God ; that he came down as a God, to 
dwell awhile in this world among men, having made him- 
self like us, and become one of us. Though this, I say, 
was not evident at first view, there was enough to make it 
evident ; that is, that he who was spoken of, under the 
name of the Son of God, a thousand years before he came, 
accordingly came about such a time which was foretold : 
any man that should consider it, must needs say, In my 
conscience this is so; this is the Son of God. Psalm ii. 6. 
"I will declare the decree, thou art my son, this day have 
I begotten thee." This was said one thousand years before 
he came : and whereas, it was so plainly said, he should 
come about such a time as he did, within the time of the 
second temple : and that he did appear under such a cha- 
racter as could agree to none but this very person ; when 
he came, his glory immediately shone as '* the glory of 
the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." 
John i. 14. It sparkled round about wherever he came, 
in whatsoever he spake, in whatsoever he did. We beheld 
his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father : 
this could be no other but the Son of God ; this could not 
but speak itself; and this still cannot but speak itself 
in the consciences of those that do consider ; and that he 
afterwards was testified unto, by a voice from heaven, from 
the excellent glory, again and again, in the hearing of a 
competent number, and at some other time, of very nume- 
rous witnesses; — This is my Son, my beloved Son, hear 
him ; I recommend him to you, I set him over you, I make 
him arbiter of all your affairs ; attend him, submit to him. 

SER. 11.) By its Truths. 53 

(hearing him imports so much.) This must speak in every 
conscience of considering men : this is very true, that he 
must be the Son of God ! He that wrought such wonders 
in the world ; restoring (upon all occasions as they occurred 
to him) hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, soundness 
to the maimed, and life to the dead, even by a word speak- 
ing : all these things being purposely recorded, that we 
might know that this Jesus was Christ, the Son of God ; 
and that by believing, we might have life through his 
name. John xx. 31. He certainly was the Son of God. 
Here is sufficient evidence that doth speak the thing to 
any man's conscience that doth consider; — yea, he that 
did display such beams of His Majesty and Glory, living 
in flesh, that even the devils themselves were constrained 
to do him homage, under that notion, "the Christ, the Son 
of the living God ;" surely this must tell any man's con- 
science, this cannot but be so, it must be so ; he, whose 
death in the circumstances of it, (the sun darkened, the 
earth shaken, the graves opened,) extorted an acknow-* 
ledgment from that Pagan Captain ; " Verily, this is the Son 
of God :" He that afterwards was declared to be the Son of 
God, with power, by the spirit of holiness that raised him 
from the dead; upon all this, the matter speaks itself to 
the consciences of considering men; — this cannot but be 
the Son of God. And then, 

2. That this great Person, this glorious Person, should 
die (as we know he did) upon a cross ; that certainly 
speaks the end of his coming into the world, as a Redeemer ; 
it could not be that one who was so plainly demonstrated 
to be the Son of God, should die for his own fault, or other- 
wise, than by his own consent, when it had been the easiest 
thing in the world to him to have avoided that fate, of 
dying like a malefactor on a cross. He had legions of 
angels at his command, and ways enough to have warded 
off the blow: it was neither by his default, nor without his 
consent, that he did die ; this speaks itself evidently to 
every conscience of man. Then what was it for? It could 
be upon no other account than to redeem and save lost 
sinners; so that the design is thus generally evident; that 
is, is capable of being evidenced, made evident to any con- 
science of man that doth consider; and more especially, 
that he died to procure the pardon of sin for poor sinners ; 
died that they might be exempted and saved from the 
necessity of dying, that is, eternally : and that he died to 
recover men from under the power of sin, nothing is in 

E 3 


itself more evident, if you consider this in the place wherein 
it stands, and which belongs to it in the series of gospel 
doctrine: that is, it can never be, that so great, so wise, so 
holy a person as the Son of God was, should die to procure 
pardon for men, and yet leave them slaved to lust and sin. 
It is evident to every conscience of man, that if he died to 
save sinners, he died to sanctify, as well as pardon them, 
and that he was exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to 
give repentance and remission of sins both together. Acts v. 
31. That his dying could not but have that design; that 
*' he bare our sins in his body on the tree; that we, being 
dead to sin, should live unto righteousness." I Peter ii. 24. 
Being healed, by his stripes, of the wounds, and distempers, 
and diseases, that infested our spirits; and this all carried 
so much evidence with it, that (as the apostle saith to the 
Galatians) they must be bewitched, that do not see and look 
into the inmost verity that lies in such truth ; the very 
inwards of that truth. There is a centre of truth, a centering 
of truth, and if you do not refer the beams of that truth to 
the centre they proceed from, truly they are insignificant 
little things, and as little capable of subsisting apart, as 
the beams of the sun Would be, cut off from the sun. You 
must make a rational design of this whole business, suit- 
able to the wisdom of a Deity, and suitable to the vast 
comprehension of a Divine mind, or you do nothing. 
Then, I say, look upon these things as they do refer 
to one centre and juncture of Divine truth; and all runs 
into this. That Christ died upon this account, and with this 
design, that he might pardon and transform men together; 
that he might pardon them and renew them ; pardon them 
and make them new creatures; pardon them, and divest 
them of the old man, and put on them the new man ; for 
can any considering conscience of man admit the thought, 
that he died for sinners to procure them pardon, leaving 
them enemies to God as they were; leaving them with 
blind minds as they were; leaving them with natures 
poisoned with enmity and malignity against the Author 
of their beings as they were, and yet design these persons 
to blessedness ? That were, to design an impossible thing ; 
to design that man, or that sort of men, to a blessed state 
in heaven, that have at the same time, an hell within them. 
One that hath not an holy nature, hath hell within him. 
This speaks itself to any conscience of man that doth but 
consider ; — do but think, and you njust say. In my con- 
science it must be so; so that, if any do not subject their 

SEU. II.) I^jf its Truths. 55 

souls to the design of that gospel that hath revealed 
this to them ; it may be said to them, Oh ! foolish crea- 
tures, that you should not believe this truth, before whose 
eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth crucified 
among you; (Gal. iii. 1.) that have had such a represen- 
tation of a crucified Christ, and never made it your business 
to know for what, — what was the design of it. I pray what 
did it finally aim at, but to Christianize the world, so far as 
his design should extend and have its efli'ect? That is, to 
turn them into the image of that Christ, that was crucified 
for them ; to make them pure, and holy_, and heavenly crea- 
tures, and devoted to God as he was. And as the apostle 
adds here, — " If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that 
are lost :" if so plain a gospel as this, that carries such evi- 
dence with it to the consciences of men, cannot yet be 
understood, it shews what a dreadful character these souls 
lie under; these must be struck with a penal blindness, and 
with a diabolical blindness withal, which is equivalent with 
this phrase of being bewitched; " in whom the God of 
this world hath blinded the eyes of them that believe not," 
as the next words are in the 4th verse of this chapter. 

And so much, therefore, concerning the design of re- 
demption by the Son of God, who came down into this 
world upon this account, may be represented with that 
evidence, as to command any conscience of man that con- 
siders, into an assent : This cannot but be so, in my consci- 
ence this is so. And then, 

4. Concerning the final issue of all : there is such 
truth shining, as must needs strike conscience, if it be 
attended to ; it is clothed with that evidence, or easily 
admits to be, as must overpower the consciences of men 
into an assent. As, 

1. Concerning the final issue of things ; that this pre- 
sent state of things shall have an end. Any body that con- 
siders, cannot but say, in my very conscience it cannot but 
be so, it must be so : things are not to run on always sure 
as they now do. This state and posture of things certainly 
is not to be eternal ; for is it a likely thing, that God will 
perpetuate his own dishonour, that he will have the 
generations of men in a continual succession to rise up 
one after another, full of alienation and estrangement from 
the Author of their being, and always to live upon the earth, 
while they live, to no other purpose than to express their 
contempt of him that gave them breath ? Will not this hare 
an end ? Sure any conscience of man must need say. This 



State of things will have an end. 1 Peter iv. 7. So that 
when this truth is spoken to us ; "The end of all things is 
at hand," is approaching ; (to that fore-seeing Spirit, that 
spake those words, and whose breath they were, the end of 
all things is at hand, just at hand ;) there is no conscience 
of man that allows itself to think, but must think so it will 
be, and this state of things cannot last always : though we 
are taught that while things do continue thus, it is with 
design, and it is from patience ; and that design shall be 
accomplished, and that patience must have its limits and 
bounds. We are told it is not from negligence, but from 
patience; it is not that God doth neglect or disregard the 
state of things; it is not from supine ossitancy, but divine 
patience. Why, in my very conscience, this is true, must 
every one say that considers; He that hath made such a 
world as this, and been the immediate Author of such a 
sort of intelligent creatures in it, who are to have imme- 
• diate presidence and dominion here in this present lower 
World : it is not to be imagined that he doth neglect the 
creatures that he hath made, and made after his own image ; 
stamped with his own likeness ; it is not likely he should be 
indifferent how they live, what they do, and what their 
posture and dispositions towards him are: any man that 
thinks, must needs say this is very true, it is God's pati- 
ence, not his negligence, that such a sort of creatures are 
so long, from age to age, suffered to inhabit this world, and 
breathe upon this earth. Therefore, when it is told us 
from the divineword, "TheLord isnot slack concerning the 
promise of his coming, as some men count slackness ; but is 
patient and long suffering towards sinners, not willing 
that any should perish, but that all should come to repen- 
tance ;" (2 Peter iii. 90 such truth, when it is laid before 
Us, is so con-natural, so agreeable to the very conscience of 
man, that he must say. This sure is true, it falls within 
my mind ; my mind gives it, it cannot be from neg- 
ligence, or unconcernedness; but from wise designing 
patience, that things run on in this course so long. And 
then, again, 

2. This cannot but be evident concerning the end of all 
things, to those that consider, that sure their end will be 
glorious, suitable to their glorious beginning and glorious 
Author ; that God will, in putting an end to things so like 
himself, and so, as it is worthy of God, there is no doubt 
but he will : any conscience of man must needs say so. 
God will do at length like himself; men have done all 

SER. II.) By it^ Truths. 67 

this while like themselves ; they_, like men, have trans- 
gressed, and perpetuated, to their utmost, their rebellions in 
this world against their rightful Lord ; thus they have been 
in all things while doing like men; and God will at length 
do like God, no doubt but he will. There can be in him no 
variableness, nor shadow of turning ; His nature alters not ; 
He is the I Am, and is what he is ; and, therefore, there 
will be an issue of all things, that will demonstrate, to all 
apprehensive creatures, the glory of the great Lord of 
heaven and earth ; even to the highest, and in ways most 
suitable to himself; that is, it shall go well with all that 
have been sincere lovers of him — devoted to him, studious 
to please him ; that valued his favour, and despised it not 
as the most do ; but for the rest, this world, the stage of 
their wickedness, where they have been sinning from age 
to age, is reserved on purpose for the perdition of ungodly 
men ; and reserved unto fire for that end and purpose. 
2 Peter iii. 7. That things will end thus, as to all those 
that know not God, and were in conspiracy against him 
and his Messiah ; saying, " Let us break their bonds asunder, 
and cast away their cords from us." I^salm ii. 3. And that 
never turned, never made their peace; that the day that 
comes for them, it must be to consume them in the common 
ruin, when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, 
and the elements melt with fervent heat, and the earth and 
all things therein be consumed and burnt up ; for this 
world is reserved unto fire, for the perdition of ungodly 
men, as we see the expressions are. 2 Peter iii. 7. And 
thus are they to have their perdition in those flames, that 
is, that the fire of the Almighty, which will at last catch 
hold of this world, whereby the heavens shall be shrivelled 
up as a scroll, and pass away with great noise ; then 
it will be seen, that both ways God hath done like 
himself; he hath done suitably to an excellent, great, 
and glorious majesty, long despised by the work of his 
own hands. 

Now, when these things come to be represented, they do 
carry in them that evident appearance of verity and truth, 
that more than very similitude, that every conscience of 
man must say. These things are very agreeable to truth, 
cannot but be true. There is a con-naturalness between 
the soul of man and truth, between the mind of man, the 
conscience of man that is to judge of truth, so that any 
must say that consider. It cannot but be thus ; in my very 
conscience it will be so. Then to go on. 


2. To the next head, that of precepts; wherein, as in 
reference to the former, it was the business of conscience to 
discern of truth and falsehood ; so in reference to this, it 
will be the business of conscience to discern of right and 
wrong; but here we shall only mention those two great 
comprehensive precepts, — " Thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy might, and with all thy mind, and shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself." Deut. vi. 5. Matt. xxii. 37- Precepts 
(as our Herbert said of them) as dark as day ; having no 
more of darkness in them, than is in the brightest day, or 
the clearest light. What? do not these approve them- 
selves to every conscience of man ? that He who is most 
good, and contains in himself all excellency, all perfection, 
all glory, all blessedness ; and which he is ready to commu- 
nicate to receptive capable subjects, should be loved 
by me with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with 
all my might, and with all my mind ; for in my 
heart and conscience, it ought to be so, any conscientious 
man will say. 

And then, that he whom God hath set in a certain order 
and rank as a fellow creature ; a creature of the same 
order, having the same nature that 1 have, and the same 
natural capacities, both as to knowledge and enjoyment, 
should be loved by me as myself: Do not my fellow crea- 
tures of the same order deserve as much love as 1 do 
deserve ? And, therefore, can it be a reasonable thing that 
1 should cut off myself from the coinmunij:y to which I do 
belong ? That order of creatures in which I am and live, 
only within a private course of my own, apart from the 
rest of mankind ? It cannot be, I must love my neighbour 
as myself; whatsoever there can be in my nature, that 
must draw and attract love, must be in them that have the 
same nature, that have the same capacities that I have ; 
so that every one that considers, must say, this is true, 
even to the light and sense of my own conscience ; thus it 
ought to be ; this is the very right of the case ; and 
he that laid this law upon me, doth by this law require 
no more than the very nature of the thing requires. 

But then considering that apostate, lapsed creatures 
cannot arrive hither to this loving of God above all, with 
all the heart, all the soul, all the might and mind ; neither 
can there be that redintegration of kind dispositions and 
affections, mutually towards one anoilier, that is required 
in that other precept; having all lapsed and fallen, without 

SER. II.) 1>^ ii" Precepts. 5'> 

a reparation and renewal of Uieir frames, without having 
their frame repaired towards God and towards one another; 
this makes the Gospel necessary to come in, in reference to 
fallen lost creatures. This was the original duty of man, 
and still is incumbent upon him as a just duty; but he can- 
not come at it till there be a reparation and renewal of his 
nature ; and for this the gospel (as was hinted) doth con- 
tain prescriptions, or a proscribed course. Now as to God, 
the gospel runs upon duty, suitably to our lost state, under 
two heads, — Repentance towards God, and Faith in our 
Lord Jesus Christ; this law lying with its eternal invari- 
able obligation upon all intelligent nature, upon every 
reasonable creature, — " Thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart."— Aye,so I ought, saith conscience, 
but I have not done it, I have been a rebel against him ; a 
thing very inconsistent with dutiful love. I have been 
a stranger and an alien to him, alienated from the life of 
God ; a very inconsistent thing with communion love, 
with conversible love. What then is to be done? here is 
no returning to my duty and pristine state again, for a 
fallen creature, for one that hath degenerated and been in a 
state of enmity and rebellion against God, (as I have been,) 
but by Repentance. I can never come to love again till I 
repent. Here is that, therefore, which the gospel does 
injoin in the first place, — Repentance towards God. I was 
under an obligation to him, as I was the work of his hands; 
and as a reasonable creature, I was to love him with all my 
heart, soul, might, and mind, and I have been a rebel to 
him, and an enemy against him ; but through his grace 
1 repent of it ; I repent of it with all my heart, and with all 
my soul. And by repentance, it is, that the soul is to return 
into the exercise of this vast all-comprehending love, 
towards the all-comprehending good ; it comprehends all 
our duty towards him, who comprehends in himself all 
excellencies, majesty, glory, and felicity. Now will not 
any considering man's conscience say to this, It cannot 
but be so; that he who was under so natural an obligation 
to love God with all his heart, soul, might, and mind ; and 
hath been disloyal, an enemy, and false to him, and a rebel 
against him, ought to repent of it ? In my very conscience 
he ought ; every man that considers will say so. What ? 
Have 1 been a traitor to him that gave me breath, and shall 
I not repent of it? or doth that gospel enjoin me a wrong- 
ful thing that calls me to repentance ? i\nd shall I not 
be a vile creature if, being so called, I will never repent ; 


but bear within me an impenitent heart, an heart than can- 
not repent, as that fearful expression is, Romans ii. 14? 
The words carry that in tiicrn, which may affright a con- 
gregation, and striivC the hearts of all that hear them with 
terror. An lieart that cannot repent ! A heart that could 
sin, that would offend and affront God, but .that cannot 
repent; repentance is liid from it! To the sense of any 
man's conscience, this is an horrid creature that hath been 
an offender all his days, but will never repent. The gospel 
calls him to repentance ; the gentle alluring voice of the 
gospel ; but he will not repent. This carries evidence with 
It to the consciences of men, what there is of right, and 
what there is of wrong, in this matter. 

And so for Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, doth not the 
thing carry evidence with it to the consciences of men. 
That he who is to make up (upon such terms as you have 
heard) that which otherwise must have been an everlasting 
breach between God and the sinner, should not have the 
soul, when called thereto in the gospel, and being now in 
its return to God, take him in its way, and pay a dutiful 
homage to him whom God hath set over all the affairs of 
lost souls, to be to them a Prince and a Saviour, to give 
repentance and remission of sins ? But in order thereunto, 
here it must be begun, for the poor soul thus to own him 
in the high authority of his office. This is the homage, 
which is in sum, the meaning of faith in Christ ; the pay- 
ing deference to him whom God hath set over all the 
affairs of souls ; that is, by resigning themselves up to him : 
that is the homage that you owe him. x\nd herem lies the 
substance of faith, — gospel-faith, self-resignation, a self- 
surrender, whereby you put yourselves absolutely into the 
hands of Christ, and own his high authority, as he is a 
Prince and a Saviour. And is not this the most reasonable 
thing in all the world ? Doth not every conscience of man 
say so when he considers. If ever I will be reconciled to 
God, it must he by the blood of Christ : and he hath an 
office over this lost world, founded in his blood ? And 
shall I not come and pay my deference to liim at the 
footstool of that throne which God hath set up for him ? 
When he hath said to the Son, " Thy throne, O God, is for 
ever and ever," shall not 1 come and pay my homage to this 
Son of God, at that throne? (Psalm iv. 5.) the Redeemer's 
throne; and say. Lord, being now convinced of this state of 
ray case, and being reduced to this, to bethink myself of 
returning to God, and I know there is no coming at him, 

SER III.) Bt/ its Precepts. (Si 

but by thee ; and this throne is set up in the way for 
returning souls ; I therefore come and pay my homage at 
this throne; that is, 1 come and resign my soul, give up 
myself, put myself into thy hands to be under thy conduct : 
thou didst die the just for the unjust to bring them unto 
God ; and now I come to thee to be brought, 1 submit 
to thy authority, I commit myself to thy grace. This is 
faith, gospel faith, and can any thing more approve itself 
to the conscience, than the right and equity of doing so? 
Is it not a righteous tiling, and a just thing, that this law 
should be laid upon returning sinners r If you go to God 
immediately, — ISo, saith he, go and do homage to my Son ; 
there is no coming to me, but in him ; and when you do 
so, when you thus receive the gospel, take hold of the gos- 
pel covenant, take him for Lord and Christ, and resign and 
give up yourselves. This sums up that duty, and the sub- 
servient duty of repentance towards God, as the way that 
leads to the end. And see now, whether the gospel of our 
Lord, both as to the truths of it, and as to the precepts of it, 
do not carry with it a self-recommending evidence unto 
the consciences of men. 



Commending ourselves to every Mutt's Conscience in the 
sight of God. 

The matter is in itself so obvious, that this self-recommen- 
dation is not thus spoken of the persons, personally consi- 
dered, but with reference to their work of dispensing the 
gospel of Christ, and holding forth the great things con- 
tained in it : that that laid our ground fairly enough in 
view, for that which 1 mainly intended to insist upon 
from these words, and that is. 

That the great things of religion do carry in them a 
self-recommending evidence to the consciences of men. 
And here, having shewn you what is meant by conscience, 
what that principle is that is to be applied unto, appealed 
unto, in this work of ours ; we come to evince to you the 

* Preached, January 25, 1690. 


truth of the thing, that there is that self-recommending 
evidence in the great things of religion, even to the very 
consciences of men. We propounded, (as you know,) to 
prove it by instances, and we have proved it, 

1. By instances under liie head of truths, or the doctrines 
unto which assent is to be given ; and we have proved it. 

2. By instances under the head of precepts, duties, en- 
joined to be done; — and now we shall farther prove it. 

3. By instancing in prohibitions of sin to be avoided ; 
and in them you will find the same recommending evidence 
to men's consciences, if such prohibitions, as do but come 
under your notice, be considered a little ; as that general 
one, " Dh, do not that abominable thing which 1 hate." 
(Jer. xliv. 4.) What convictive light doth it carry to every 
conscience of man, that allows himself to think and con- 
sider ? I, a creature, the work of God's own hand, in 
whose power and pleasure it was, whether 1 should ever be 
or not be, whether ever 1 should draw a breath, or see the 
light in this world, yea or no; that 1 being lately sprung 
into being, by his pleasure and vouchsafement, should allow 
myself despitefully to do the thing he hates, and that he 
hath declared himself to hate? How can this, (if men do 
think,) how can it but strike conscience? What? to spite 
the God of all grace; Him, whose nature is love itself, 
goodness itself, kindness ? For me to do the thing that 1 
know he hates, how is it possible but this should recom- 
mend itself to conscience, if men do not shut the eye and 
stop the ear of conscience, that it shall not be allowed to 
discharge any part of its proper office and work ? 

But to descend to mofe particular prohibitions, there the 
thing will be still plain ; do not live after the flesh, if you 
do, it is mortal to you ; " If ye live after the flesh, ye shall 
die." (Rom. viii. 13.) What evidence doth this carry with it 
to conscience ? Take the prohibition and the inforcement 
together, as we should do in the former instances ; Do not 
this, do not the thing 1 hate. When we do know ourselves 
to be a sort of compound creatures, made up of flesh and 
spirit, can we be ignorant which is the nobler part ? Can 
any man's conscience allow him to think, that flesh ought 
to rule ; tlmt it belongs to the baser flesh to be the govern- 
ing thing ? " Do not walk after the flesh ;" doth not the thing 
carry its own evidence with it, that we should not ; that 
the mind and spirit should not be enslaved to so base a 
thing as flesh ? 

Again, '* Do not grieve the Spirit of God, do not quench 

SF.u. in.) '• ■ ' til/ ili P/oIiibitions. G3 

the Spirit; (1 Thess. v. 9.) AVliat evidence doth this carry 
with it to any conscience of man ? Our own hearts tell us, if 
we consider, we need a guide in this wilderness; we need 
an enlightener, we need a sanctifier, we need a quickener, 
we need a comforter within, an internal one of all these. 
What ? Is it reasonable to think ; doth not the matter speak 
itself to our consciences ; when it is said to us, whatsoever 
ye do, do not grieve the Spirit ? (Eph. iv, 3.) You are lost 
if you do; what desolate creatures will ye be if you do! 
What forsaken wretches ! You will run yourselves into a 
thousand miseries and deaths, if you be forsaken of that 
Spirit; your end can be nothing but perdition, if you be 
not under the constant conduct of that Spirit. 1 might 
preach to you thus, Upon as many several texts as I give 
you instances in this case, to shew the truth of this one 
thing, how God doth speak to men's consciences in the 

AVhen again he saith to men, love not this world, nor the 
things of this world ; If any man man love the world, the 
love of the Father is not in him; (1 John ii. 15.) that is, 
do not so love this world, as thereby to stifle, as thereby to 
€xclude the love of God, that it shall and can have no 
place in you. Doth not this carry its own light with it, 
its own evidence ? What a foolish wretch art thou that 
thinkest this world can be to thee, in the room and stead 
of God! Can this world be a God to thee? Can this 
world fill up God's vacant places ? What a pitiful sorry 
God wilt thou find it in a few years or days ? Thou who 
dost turn God out of thy soul, and wilt have it filled 
and replenished only with this world, doth not this carry 
with it conviction to conscience ? What can, if this do 
not ? 

Again, do not take more care for this temporal life, than 
for spiritual and eternal life ; or to give it you in the 
words of our Saviour, " Labour not for the meat that perish- 
€th ; but for that which endureth to life eternal, which the 
Son of Man shall give." John vi. 27. 

Doth not this carry its own evidence to you with it? 
That is, when [ know I have but a short temporal Jife; 
which, do what I can, will soon come to an end ; and 
there is an eternal state of life which must come after- 
wards. I know 1 am a creature made for eternity, and for 
an everlasting state. Doth not this carry its own evidence 
with it, when 1 am forbid to take more care for this mor- 
tal life, than for life eternal ? When i am forbidden to make 


more solicitous provision for this perishing life, than an 
immortal life ? Doth not the reason of the thing speak 
itself in m}' conscience ? But I go on, 

4. To the last head which I proposed to give instances of. 
We have gone upon divine truths, divine precepts, divine 
prohibitions ; we shall only instance further, upon the head 
of divine judgments, or judicial determinations. I cannot 
call what 1 intend by a fitter name, or nearer to that of the 
apostle, who knowing the judgment of God, that they who 
do such things are worthy of death, — here is the divine judi- 
cial determination, de debito retributionis, what is justly to 
be retributed to those that are found to disobey the stated 
known rules of his government. His judgments in this 
sense, they are a light that goeth forth; Hosea vi. 5. (to 
borrow that expression ;) they carry their own convictive 
evidence with them to the consciences of men. Hosea vi. 5. 
How equal they are ! take those two in the general, that we 
have confronted to one another. " Say ye to the righteous, 
it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of 
their doings ; Woe unto the wicked, it shall be ill with 
him ; for the reward of his hands shall be given him." 
Isaiah iii. JO, 11. Doth not this speak itself, that when we 
know the world is divided into good and bad, into righteous 
and wicked, it should fare ill with them that did ill, and 
well with them that did well ? Doth not this carry its own 
evidence with it to conscience, that God should render to 
every man according to his works ; that is, the course of 
his work, and, consequently, the habitual inclinations 
from whence they proceed ; every thing working as it is, 
and men working, as they are, either according to what by 
nature they were, or according to what by grace they are 
become; so they ought to be judged? When we know 
the world is divided into two parts, under two great parents, 
as the apostle calls them the children of God, and the chil- 
dren of the devil, herein are the children of God manifest, 
and the children of the devil. 1 John iii. 10. These two 
families, these two sorts of posterities, do divide the world 
to every man's sense, and the world being so divided, is it 
to be expected that God should deal with his own children 
and the devil's children alike ? Let conscience be appealed 
to in this case : they that live here all their days in this 
world under the law, and according to the dictates of the 
prince of the darkness of this world, despising God, hating 
his ways, throwing him out of their thoughts, making it 
only their design to please themselves, and do the devil's 

SER. III.) — — By its Prohibitions. 65 

work, when we know there is such a sort of men in this 
worJd, and that there is another sort that have given up 
themselves to God in Christ, have taken hold of Christ and 
of God in him, to he theirs; being born, "not of flesh, nor of 
the will of man, but of God;" (John i. 13.) as all they that 
do receive Christ are. ^^ hen we know, I say, there is 
such a contradistinction between a race and a race, a family 
and a family, can any man in his conscience expect that 
God should deal with all alike.'' And therefore, when you 
have particular determinations to the particular distinguish- 
ing characters of the one sort, and of the other, the equity 
and reasonableness of the determination cannot but speak 
itself in every man's conscience that doth consider the case. 
As, for instance, the love of Christ : it is determined on the one 
hand ; " Grace be irpon all them that love our Lord Jesus 
Christ in sincerity." Ephes.vi. 21. And, on the other hand, 
" If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be 
Anatliema Maranatlia ;" (1 Cor. xvi. 22.) an execrable 
thing, an accursed thing, till tlie Lord come to plead his 
own cause ajid quarrel himself. To what conscience of 
man doth not the equity of this determination or distin- 
guishing judgment appear and recommend itself? What! 
do we think (when men must have their final fehcity from 
the blessed Judge, if ever they be happy) that he is to dis- 
pense equally to them thai love him, and to them that hate 
him ? And so, when the business of obedience to his gos- 
pel, the laws of his kingdom, is mentioned as the contra- 
distinguishing character to that of disobedience and rebel- 
lion. He will be '' the Author of eternal salvation unto all 
them that obey him," Hebrews v. 9; and will come in 
flaming fire to take vengeance on them that obey him not. 
2 Thess. i. 8. Doth not this distinguishing judgment ap- 
prove itself to any man's conscience? That when every 
man must be beholden for this salvation to Christ the eter- 
nal Son of God, into whose hands and power this world is 
put, the whole universe, indeed, all the afl'airs of heaven 
and earth ; do you think he will make no difference at the 
last between them that obeyed him, subjected themselves 
to that vast just power of his; and they that" lived in con- 
tinual rebellion against him, and defiance to his power and 
authority ? 

And so, if we should take the determination which is 
given us, concerning the stated method of God's final pro- 
cedure in that which is called the day of wrath, and the 
revelation of his righteous judgment ; to wit, that to them 



who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, 
and honour, and immortality, he will give eternal life; 
(Rom. ix. 7.) such as, by patient continuance in well doing, 
do steer their course answerable to so high an hope and ex- 
pectation of honour, glor}^, and immortality, said God: 
nothing but eternal glory and blessedness will answer the 
enlargedness of the capacity, desires, and aspirings, of these 
souls; they shall have their seeking. These are a sort of 
souls that breathe after nothing but the celestial glory and 
felicity, being refined from the mixture, dross, and base- 
ness, of this earth : no terrene good will satisfy them, or 
serve their turn ; for they are all for heaveri, all for glory, 
and immortality : 1 will give them eternal life. This is the 
judgment that is made aforehand ; eternal life shall be 
theirs. But then there is another sort, that are contentious, 
and will not obey the truth ; Rom. ii. 8, 9- that is, that are 
contentious against the truth they should obey, and that 
should govern them: no, they will not be governed by 
truth ; they will be governed by lust, by teriene inclinations, 
which bear them downwards towards this earth: " Indig- 
nation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of 
man : it will be upon them, every soul of them, that do 
evil, whether Jew or Gentile; because there is no respect 
of persons with God, Romans ii. 11. What can more ap- 
prove itself to the judgment of conscience than this deter- 
mination doth ? Yea, God hereupon makes his appeal to 
men : Are not my ways equal ? Ezek. xviii. 25— 2y. Be 
you, your very conscience itself, in the judgment seat, and 
let that pronounce. Are not my ways equal? what con- 
science of man but must submit here, and fall in with the 
choir of them that say, '" Great and marvellous are thy 
works. Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways." 
Rev. XV. 3. There is nothing to be said against all this ; 
every conscience of man must yield and submit to God in 
this case. 

It remains to say somewhat by way of use. 
1. We learn hence, that upon the whole, there cannot 
but be much siiming against light in this world ; and espe- 
cially under the gospef, where there are those so clear, evi- 
dent, and convic^tive things, that are insisted upon so much 
from time to time, which even make their own way to men's 
consciences; though through them they do not make their 
way to their more abstracted hearts. Do but appeal to 
yourselves ; what are the things that you hear of in these as- 
semblies from one Lord's day to another ? Are they not the 

SER. HI.) Uses ami Inferences. 67 

things as I have now given you instances in, and in former 
discourses? Do not you hear of such things most? And 
do not these things speak themselves in your very con- 
sciences? Yet, is it not apparent that the course and tenor 
of men's lives run counter to the tendency of all these 
things ? Oh, then, how apparent and insolent sinning 
against light is there among us in our days ! A fearful thing 
to think of! that men should in their consciences know that 
such and such things are true; and that, if they be true, 
they must be considerable ; if they be true, they are as im- 
portant truths as can be thought of; and yet they will not 
think of them. They know such and such things are 
commanded ; but they never set themselves about them. 
Such and such things are forbidden, but they take no care 
to avoid them. Such and such judgments are fixed and de- 
termined by the righteous will of God, and they take no 
care; have no forethought to make a title clear to the re- 
ward that is promised, or to avoid the penalties threatened. 
What sinning against light is all this? And what is the 
issue of all this like to be ? 

2. You may further see hence, that if man be so capable 
a creature, through his having that principle settled in him 
of judging of things; to wit, truths, precepts, prohibitions, 
divine determinations, or judgments, as you have heard, 
then he is as capable a creature, by the same principle, of 
judging of himself, and of his own case hereupon, i pray 
consider it, it is one and the self same principle by which 
I am first to judge. Is such a thing a part of divine truth, 
and to be received accordingly ? and afterwards to judge, 
Have I received it accordingly; yea or no ? And so, in 
reference to the other several heads, it is but the same prin- 
ciple that 1 am to use, and put in exercise, both ways. If I 
am a creature capable of judging of truth, of duty, of sin, 
of desert in general; then I am capable of judging some-, 
what of the state of my own case hereupon, in reference to 
all these. And pray let that be considered only in the way 
to what is further to be considered. 

3. It isj then, a very strange kind of stupidity, that men 
do not more generally lay themselves under judgment, one 
way or another, when they have this principle in them, that 
is so capable of doing, and the proper direct use whereof 
(at least) is to do it. It is strange that men should spend 
all their days amidst the light by which they must be finally 
judged, and never go about such a thing as tlie forming 
of a preventive judgment concerning tliemselves. And 

r 2 


yel we are told that this is the only way of escaping the 
severity of a destructive doom at last from the supreme 
Judge. " Judge yourselves, and ye shall not be judged." 
That people should pass away their days, and imder a gos- 
pel, and never find time (as it is, God knows, with too 
many) to ask themselves the question. Into what sort and 
class of men am I to cast myself? There are those that dp 
belong to God as his own children, the members of his fa- 
mily, his special domestics. Am I of that family, or am I 
not? Do I belong to God, or do I not? Do the characters 
of a righteous person or a wicked one belong to me? Am 
1 one that fears God, or one of them that fear him not ? 
That- love him, or that love him not? Am I (in short) a 
regenerate person, or an unregenerate ? A convert, or an 
unconverted one? \\ is strange how men can dream away 
their time under a gospel as we live, and never ask them- 
selves such questions as these are, in reference to so great 
and important a case ; let one day come and go after another, 
and take it for granted that things are well, without ever 
inquiring. To what purpose, I pray, is there such a princi- 
ple in the souls of men as conscience, when this signifies' 
nothing? It is thus tied and chained up from doing any 
thing of its proper business in their souls, if it be brought 
into true light, (as it may be with some, if their case do in- 
fer so,) it will speak comfortably to them, if their case doth 
admit it. But if you have no converse with your own 
consciences, have nothing to do with them, never converse 
with them, never commune with them, they never speak to 
you one way or other ; you have neither comfort from them, 
nor are awakened by them. But again, 

4. We further note to you, that sure, upon the whole 
matter, man is become a very degenerate creature. The 
state of things with men living under the gospel, gives so 
much the more clear and certain judgment of the state of 
things with men more generally and indefinitely consi- 
dered ; for if they that live under the gospel, notwithstand- 
ing the clearer representation of things there which are of 
the greatest concernment to them, and the most earnest in- 
culcation of such things by them who have that part incum- 
bent on them to open and preach the great things of the 
gospel among tliem ; I say, if among these there be so deep 
a somnolency, the spirit of a deep sleep poured out; if 
even these men are generally unconcerned, and do not care 
what becomes of their souls, and what the state of things 
is between God and them, certainly, upon the whole mat- 

SER. III.) Uses and Inferences. 69 

ter, man must needs be a very degenerate creature, to have 
such a principle of conscience in him to so little purpose, 
so much in vain, which was designed in his original and 
instituted state to be his guide and conductor all along 
through the whole of his course; but now-a-days it doth 
not, for the most part, or at least not in reference to men's 
greatest concernment, the state of their affairs and case 
God-ward, and as things lie between them and him. And 
again, ^ 

5. We may learn wherein the degeneracy of man doth 
generally and principally consist and lie, and what is the 
most mortal ail and evil that hath befallen men by the fall ; 
that is, the interruption and breach of the order between 
the faculties, that which should lead and guide, and those 
which should obey and follow : here lies the principal 
maim and hurt of the soul by the fall ; it lies in this chiefly, 
that the order is battered and broken between faculty and 
faculty, between the praclicaljudgment (which is the same 
with conscience) and the executive power, which should 
act and do according to the dictate of that judgment or 
conscience: here is the maim ; it doth not lie so much in 
this, a mere ignorance, or (suppose that) in a mere inaptitude 
to know, or an incapacity of knowing the things that are 
needful to be known; but it lies chiefly in this, that the 
things we do know, they signify no more with men, than 
if they knew them not; the inferior powers do not obey 
and follow the superior: as, for instance, now, among us, 
who believe the Bible to be the word of God, and who do 
profess the Christian name, take a man that is under the 
dominion of this or that particular lust in hi« nature, it is 
plain this lust carries him against a thousand texts of scrip- 
ture ; what will a text of scripture signify to a man that is 
under the violent hurry or impetuosity of a lust? Though 
conscience tells him, at the same time, this is a divine 
word, a divine dictate ; this word is from God, and it speaks 
like itself in my conscience, that it is a divine word. Alas! 
how little doth a text, or multitudes of texts of scripture, 
prevail in such a case, when a man's heart is carried by the 
power of such a lust ? " The lusts of your fathers ye will 
do," (John viii. 44.) as our Savic.ur told the Jews ; so that 
is the true state of man's case, naturaliv : a degenerate 
creature he is; and herein lies his degeneration, or princi- 
pal maim, that he hath got by his fall ; the order is broken 
between the faculties, insomuch, that now a man's know- 
ing, or having the notion of this or that thing to be done, 



or not to be done, signifies no more to him, than if there 
were no such notions, no such knowledge ; when there is a 
competition between the judgment of conscience, and an 
incHnation of her.rt, you may lay a thousand to one on the 
side of the inclination, that carries ii: here is our maim, 
and it is fit we should understand, and needful we should 
consider, where it is, and what is our hurt by the fail: we 
see our way, but have no inclination to go in it; we see 
what we should do, but we do not do it ; like here in the 
poet, — " Fideo meliora probuque deteriora sequar ;" — the 
same maim that Pagans have complained of, 1 see the bet- 
ter, and do the worse. It were a sad case if we sliould lie 
under such a evil as this is, and never know it, never take 
notice of it, where our hurt lies, and where our cure must 
be wrought. And that is the next thing, 

6. i would infer, to wit, wherein regeneration most princi- 
pally lies: when a man understands what it is to be dege- 
nerate, he will the better know what it is to be regenerate ; 
it must lie iti this, in the exalting the law of the mind into 
its proper dominion and government, the placing that upon, 
the throne which is to beget a man, spirit of spirit; 
whereas, before, he was only begotten flesh of flesh ; for 
when flesh is a ruling and governing nature, then the man 
is called flesh ; but when the spirit is become the ruling 
and governing thing, (which is the new nature,) tlien he is 
called spirit; and he is made spirit before he ought to be 
called so. And this is theeflect of regeneration, the crea- 
ting of a man's spirit again, that is restoring him to him- 
self. *' That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that 
which is born of the spirit is spirit." John iii. 6. When a 
man's light becomes a vital thing, a powerful efficacious 
thing, then he is a child of light. " You were darkness, 
now are ye light in the Lord; M'alk as children of light." 
Ephes. V. 8. And we are never to look on ourselves as 
regenerate, till it comes to this ; till the Divine Spirit have 
exalted our spirits into their proper dominion ; till there be 
a principle begotten that shall make divine discoveries sig- 
nificant; when it may be said, " The law of the spirit of 
life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin 
and death." Romans viii. 2. And thereupon we may 

7. That a degenerate and an unregenerate man is a mi- 
serable creature; as he is a most depraved creature, so he 
is a most wretched creature; for, take the state of his case, 
as things are with the unregenerate man, his soul is the 

SEH. HI.) Uses (tnd Inferences. 71 

seat and stage of a continual war, to no purpose. Indeed, 
the soul of a saint in this world is the seat of war, but it is 
a war to a good purpose; a war wherein he finally prevails, 
and wherein he is habitually victorious all along. But the 
soul of an unregenerate man is the seat of war in vain; for 
the right principle is always worsted, perpetually worsted ; 
there is not a war as there is in the regenerate, in the facul- 
ties taken separately and apart, as in the very heart itself, 
and in the will itself. The regenerate person hath a war; 
there is a love to God, with its opposite; but that love is 
the prevailing inclination : there is faith with unbelief ; but 
then faith is liabitually prevailing in the regenerate person. 
\.n the unregenerate person there is no such thing as faith in 
the heart, love in the heart ; but a total unbelief, a total 
enmity, and total fearlessness of God, and a total vacancy 
of desire after him, and delight in him; but there is light 
in his conscience: his conscience tells him God is worthy 
to be loved, worthy to be desired, worthy to be delighted 
in, but there is nothing in his heart correspondent, so that 
this soul is a continual seat of war, in vain, and to no pur- 

fiose ; for the bent of his heart always carries it against the 
ight of his mind and conscience; so that, although he 
doth acknowledge in his conscience that God is the chief 
good, he.always keeps off from him; that he is the highest 
authority, yet he always disobeys him; never fears him, 
never stands in awe of him ; as such, therefore, this sort of 
creature is a miserable creature, he is a creature composed 
for torment, having a principle in him that always tells him 
what he should do, but no principle to enable him so to do ; 
so that continually he doth against what he should do. 
This is as much as is possible to be made for torment ; but 
then remember, it is self-composed ; you have made 3'our- 
selves so : if this be the case with any of us, we have fought 
against the grace and Spirit of Christ, by which this sad 
case should have been redressed : and we have habituated 
ourselves to a course of living after the flesh, by whicli 
flesh hath got dominion over conscience; whereupon con- 
science can never come to rule it, but dictates to it always 
in vain. Again, 

8. They are very happy souls in whom there is a recon- 
ciliation brought about between the light of their con- 
sciences and the temper and inclination of their hearts, by 
the conforming of the latter to the former. This creates an 
heaven within them, when a poor soul sees its waj', and 
walks in it; sees that God ought to be loved, and he love* 



him; that he ought to be trusted, and trusts in him ; that 
he ought to be dehghted in, and delights in him : this is 
heaven on this side lieaven, this is heaven under lieaven, 
when conscience is the governing thing in his whole con- 
versation ; so that he doth not consider. Wherein shall 1 
advantage myself by this and this negociation and affair? 
increase my estate and my condition in this world ? He doth 
not, finally, and ultimately, consider that, but how shall I 
manage this affair to please God, so as 1 may approve my- 
self to him, and so as that my own heart and conscience 
shall not reproach me about it ? O happy man that walks 
by this rule! This is the new creature's rule ; they that 
walk according to it, peace shall be upon them, and mercy 
upon the Israel of God. Gal. vi. 16. When a man hath 
been busy about his affairs, he may be abroad all day, and 
can come home and visit his tabernacle at night, and not 
sin. Job V. 24. Oh blessed thing! What can be the 
meaning of that ? Can any man suppose it a sin to go 
home to his own house? No, but that he can visit his ta- 
bernacle without conscience of sin. [ have kept a good 
conscience this day, blessed be God : it may be I have met 
with temptations, to be in a debauch by those that would 
have insulted over the weakness of my flesh ; it may be I 
have, but God hath kept me. Blessed be God, now I can 
visit my tabernacle without sin, and lay me down in rest 
and peace; I can visit my tabernacle without spot, with- 
out any such spot. What a blessed thing is it, when God 
brings about that reconciliation between him and them, 
and where the peace is kept and continued between a man 
and his own conscience, not by stupifying of conscience, 
(a fearful thing that is,) but by the conforming of a man's 
heart and inclinations and ways thereunto. 



2 Corinthians, iv. 2, 

Commending ourselves to every mans conscience in the sight 

of God. 

We have had occasion several times of considering the 
context; '^ We all with open face beholding, as in a glass, 
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, 
from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord ; so ends 
the foregoing chapter. " Therefore, (so begins this chap- 
ter,) seeing we have this ministry, as we have received 
mercy we faint not, but have renounced the hidden things 
of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the 
word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth 
commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the 
sight of God." You know what observations have been 
recommended to you from this portion of scripture, princi- 
pally from these last words, but relatively considered, as 
well as absolutely. As, 

1. That there is such a principle in every man, as that 
of conscience, unto which the great things of religion do 
carry with them a self-recommending evidence 

2. That the business of the gospel ministry doth lie very 
principally in a transaction with the very consciences of 

3. That this transaction is to be managed in the sight of 
God. And, 

4. That from all this proceeds, in very great part, the 
unfainting vigour and resolvedness of faithful ministers in 
their work. 

We have insisted upon the first of these ; we will now 
proceed as far as we can with the rest, and begin with the 
next in order; which is, 

2d Doctrine. That the great business of the gospel mi- 
nistry doth very principally lie in a transaction with men's 
conscience. We are here to shew you, 1st. wherein this 
transaction lies ; and, 2dly, to shew that the work of the 
ministry lies in it, and must so do very principally. 

* Preached February 8, 1690. 


1st. Wherein this transaction with the consciences of 
men doth lie. Why, 

1. In deahng with men about such things chiefly as do 
most directly come under, and as are most apt to take 
hold of their consciences; in insisting (I say) chiefly upon 
such things as are most likely to fasten upon conscience, 
and take hold of that. 

2. In endeavouring to set such things in as clear light as 
may be, to represent them as advantageously as we can, 
that conscience may have nothing to do but to discern the 
very evidence of the things. This is plain, this is clear: 
to represent things so that at first sight they may be as- 
sented and submitted unto as much as in us lies. And, 

3. To appeal hereupon to conscience about it; that is 
our business, recommending ourselves to every man's con- 
science ; that is what we have to do, provocare, to call unto 
conscience: ^ Come, do thy part; see if there be not evi- 
dence in this and that truth ; see if there be not equity in 
this or that precept ; see if there be not wickedness or dan- 
ger in this or that sin; see if tliere be not righteousness 
and reasonableness in this or that judgment or determina- 
tion, that we find recorded in the word, and pronounced in 
reference to such and sucli cases.' These (you know) were 
the four heads instanced in, to let you see the things of reli- 
gion that do carry in them a self-recommending evidence 
to the consciences of men. Our business must be to appeal 
to conscience about such things ; to call upon it to doits 
office, to judge and pronounce. Are not these things so .^ 

4. To endeavour to awaken conscience, supposing it 
drowsy and somnolent, as God knows, it is too much with 
the most; when we have appealed to conscience, to appeal 
again, as that petitioner did to that great prince : " 1 ap- 
peal from thee," said she. — *' From me ? (said the prince.) 
Whither will you appeal ?" — " I appeal (said she) from 
you, asleep: you were asleep just now, while 1 was telling 
my story : 1 appeal from you asleep, to you awake." So 
we are to appeal from conscience to conscience; from con- 
science asleep to conscience awake. That must be our 
business, to endeavour, as much as in us is, to awaken 
conscience to the exercise of its office in that great busi- 
ness, that we recommend ourselves to it about. And, 

5. To answer what we can the cavils and foolish counter- 
reasonings of carnal hearts against truth and against duty, 
or in favour of any way of sin, that the litigating humour 

SKU. IV. Deals with Menu Consciences. 75 

may (as much as in us is) be repressed, and men's spirits 
be subdued, that they may have no more to say; but that 
their mouths may be stopped, and they laid under a restraint 
to lie down silenced and convinced before the Lord. And, 
6. To urge conscience to its final answer, to its deter- 
mination upon the whole, as there is such a thing as an 
answer of conscience to be finally given in particular cases, 
that we may apply ourselves to men about. And if con- 
science be rectified and sanctified, and sprinkled with the 
blood of Jesus, it will be brought at length to give a good 
answer, a complying answer, a yielding answer ; as that 
which the apostle speaks of: " A like figure whereunto 
(having spoken of the ark before, that saved Noah and his 
liousehold from perishing in the universal inundation) even 
baptism doth now save us ; not the putting away the filth of 
the flesh, (not the external sign,) but the answer of a good 
conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus 
Christ." 1 Peter iii. 21. The main and principal thing 
that we do apply ourselves to men, and the consciences of 
men, about, is, to bring them back to God ; that is, 
whereas the bond was broken between God and men, we 
would fain have them under new bonds, we would fain 
there should be a redintigration, that they may come into 
a covenant relation to God, through Christ, again ; of such 
a covenant entered into between God and the returning 
souls of men, baptism was a seal ; the confirmation. It 
is not the external part of baptism that will avail a man 
any thing, not the washing away the filth of the flesh; 
why, will not that do .? No, but that whereunto baptism 
is to seal; that is, the answer of a good conscience. When 
sinners are dealt withal, ' Come, will you yet have God to 
be your God, — God the Father, Son, and Spirit, to be 
your God ?' And the soul is brought at length to yield a 
ready, free, complying answer ; 'Aye, with all my heart.' 
This is that will save a man ; this brings him as into an 
ark, to save him from the common deluge of wickedness 
and wrath that do overwhelm this world. Then he is safe-, 
then he is in the ark ; that is, when his conscience hath 
given a complying answer, with a sincere conscience, ' 1 do 
take God to be my God.' The sign (it may be) that was 
applied many years ago, avails nothing, without the thing 
signified : but if the thing signified do come to obtain, to 
take place, here is one that takes God to be his God ; then 
the business is done; then the man is safe, when the sign 
before applied is now answered and filled up; there is that 


which is correspondent to it; the soul is now won^ and 
brought to give its answer; the covenant stands between 
God and it, it is a sealed covenant ; and so is such an one 
marked out for safety and preservation from the common 
ruin. And this is that which we have to deal with the con- 
sciences of men about, to bring them to a final answer. 
Sinner, wilt thou still live without God in the world.? 
Wilt thou still wander from God r go astray from God .'' 
Dost thou still think it safe to live in estrangement from 
God, and neglect of him? never thinking of worshipping 
him, trusting on him, loving him, and delighting in him, 
fi'om day to day ? Or wilt thou yet at length be brought, 
upon the many applications that have been made to thy 
conscience, to answer, with a sincere conscience, ' Now I 
am willing, from my very soul, that God shall be mine; 
and I will be his in and through Christ.' It is herein that 
our transaction doth receive its happy issue. This is the 
issue we drive at to bring conscience to a final answer, if it 
be possible, * I am won, I am overcome ; I do answer, in 
my very conscience; I judge it best and safest, most equal, 
most dutiful, and most comfortable, to fall in witli the 
gospel offer, and take God in Christ, for ray God.' But, 

2dly. Why must our business thus lie in a transaction of 
men's consciences ? To that I shall need to say very little, 
because the things speaks itself. That is, 

1. That there being this principle in man, which sig- 
nifies nothing else but a power to judge in such matters, 
relatino; to such practices as shall be laid before him. And, 

2. 1 he objects carrying in themselves (as you have 
heard) a self-recommending evidence to this principle, 
nothing remains, nothing is left, but that in the course 
of our ministry, in the way of our dealings with men's 
souls, that we do thus apply ourselves, do thus deal with 
this principle of conscience. Touching these objects, it is 
the office of conscience to judge of things, and the things 
themselves carr}-^ with them an evidence that comes under 
the notion, cognizance, and judgment of conscience ; even 
by that very light wherewith they are clothed, and 
therefore the matter speaks itself; our business must lie 
there or nowhere ; if we do not in these matters apply 
ourselves to the consciences of men, and treat with them, 
we had as good talk with stones and pillars. 

Therefore I shall leave that, and speak somewhat to the 
third observation, the use of which too will best fall in 
afterwards together. 

SER. IV.) Deals tcilh Mens Consciences. 77 

3rd Doctrine. — This transaction with the consciences 
of men must be in the sight of God, — there it must be 
made. 1 shall here briefly shew, 1st, what this means; 
and, 2ndly, why it must be so. 

1st. What meanetli that such a resolution should be 
taken, and such a course held, we will transact, and do 
transact with the consciences of men in the sight of God ? 
What can the meaning of that be ? Why, 

1. Negatively, the meaning of it is not, barely, that 
God shall see, or will see, how tliis transaction is managed. 
That is not all that is meant by it, for it is very manifest 
that the import of this speech holds forth to us somewhat 
elcctively done in this matter ; but God's seeing us is not a 
thing subject to our's, or any man's choice, he will see 
whether we will or no ; and if that were all that were 
resolved in the case, it were to resolve God's part, and 
not our own part ; and this were idle and foolish for us 
to do; he will do his own part, and this in particular; he 
will see, look on, and behold whatsoever we do, and what- 
soever you do. "All things are naked and manifest to his 
eye, with whom we have to do." (Heb. iv. 12.) And, there- 
fore, it were a piece of very impertinent ofliciousness for 
us, to take upon us to determine and resolve, that God 
should see what we do in this matter, should look upon you 
and us, and see how the transaction between us and your 
consciences is ordered, that he shall take notice of it; 
that cannot be the thing meant; as if any man should 
say, I will do such or such a thing in the light of the 
sun ; nobody will understand the meaning of that to be, 
I will make the sun shine, or cause the sun to sliine while 
r do such a thing : he can resolve nothing, but in refer- 
ence to his own act, and in reference to his own part. 
And so it is here, it is only in reference to our own part, 
that we resolve such a transaction in the sight of God. 
Therefore, positively, 

2. There is a part or act of our own implied in this, 
that we will do such and such a thing, and this in particu- 
lar in the sight of God. And what is that? That is, we 
will appeal to the sight of God, and to his judgment, 
about what we do in this matter. And this is a thing 
electively and voluntarily done, as a matter of choice, that 
we will appeal to his eye : it is true, it is no matter of 
choice tliat God will see, but it is matter of choice that 
we will appeal lo that eye of his. And this is the great 
character of sincere ones, ofien mentioned in scripture; 


that is, that as they know God beholds and sees them in 
every thing, so they do study and labour to approve 
themselves to his eye, and (as it were) invocate his ob- 
servation. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try 
me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked 
way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 
exxxix. 23, 24.) It was a dignostick of sincerity, that was 
enjoined as a test upon Abraham ; " 1 am God all-suffi- 
cient, walk before me, and be perfect or upright." (Gen. 
xvii. 1.) Walk before me, walk so as apprehending my 
inspection, and so as to approve thyself to the observation 
of mine eye, through thy whole course ; and with this, 
there is a conjunction mentioned of his uprightness ; 
implying that to be a dignostick of this: " Walk before 
me and be upright;" walk as in my sight, (as only the 
upright man will do,) and therein shew thyself an upriuht 
man. So the Psalmist, "I will walk before the Lord in 
the land of the living." (Psalm cxvi. 9.) 1 will studiously 
approve myself, through the whole of my walking, unto 
the view and judgment of his observing eye. And so it is 
said of them who do truly, or that do the truth, that they 
bring their deeds to the light, " that they may be manifest 
that they are wrought in God." (John iii. 21.) They do 
willingly expose their deeds to be viewed in the light, 
from the secret consciousness that there is a divine power 
and presence with them that doth help them on in their way 
and course : and this, they desire, should be made mani- 
fest, that they do not live at the common rate; that they 
do not walk as men, (as the expression is, 1 Cor. iii.) That 
it may be seen that their course is managed in the power 
of a divine principle, that their works are wrought in God. 
Here is an elective appeal all along to the divine eye; 
which hypocrites and unsound persons would decline and 
shun even to the uttermost ; ^' they will not come t(^ the 
light, lest their deeds should be reproved." (John iii. 20.) 
And when it is said, " there is no darkness or shadow of 
death, where the workers of iniquity can hide themselves," 
it implies, fain they would keep in the dark from the 
eyes of the looker upon the ways of men, who sees their 
goings. They are for the night, for a corner, for dark- 
ness, but they can find none ; they vainly seek it, though 
this be the wish of their hearts, as the poet expresseth it, 
*' Da mihi noctem, da mild nubem ,•" Oh for a cloud. Oh for 
a dark night ! We do appeal to the consciences of men, 
in the sight of God ; we appeal to his eye voluntarily and 

SER. IV.) Deah with Mens Consciences. 79 

freely desiring him to be judge when we deal and treat 
with men upon this account, whether we do not sincerely 
desire their best good, and highest glory, in this nego- 
ciation of ours. This, therefore, is the plain meaning of 
doing what we do in this case " in the sight of God ;" that 
is, as electively appealing to the eye of God, in the 
transaction and management of this affair. 

And so there are now two parts manifestly distinguish- 
able ; that is, God's part looking on, and man's part in 
appealing to his observing eye, and expressing a desire of 
his complacency in reference to those things he is looking 
upon ; but then, as to our ow.n part, or man's part, wherein 
we are concerned, which lies under our present consi- 
deration, that you may also see is two-fold ; that is, there 
is the preacher's part, and there is the hearer's part: it 
is the former of these that is directly here meant ; and the 
latter implicitly and by consequence. 

1. The former is meant directly, that is, they whose 
business it is, as ministers of the gospel, !o treat and deal 
with the souls of men ; their part is directly there express- 
ed, to appeal to the eye of God, concerning their own 
integrity and the uprightness of their aims, in all the appli- 
cations they make from him, and upon his account to 
souls. But then, 

2. The hearer's part is implied ; not as that in reference 
whereto we can undertake, but as that in reference whereto 
we do and must endeavour; that is, that they also may 
be brought to appeal to the eye of God, in this transaction 
that is between us and their consciences. This is that we 
must endeavour. As, 

1. We must endeavour to make them sensible of the 
divine presence, in which we are at such times as these. 
That is incumbent upon us on our part, that we engage 
you as much as in us is, to do your part; that is, to appeal 
jointly with us to the eye of God, about that for which 
we appeal to you and your consciences; our business must 
be to make you apprehensive and sensible, that we are in 
the presence of God ; that there is a divine eye inspecting 
us, looking upon us : we must put you in mind of this, 
that we speak, and you hear in the presence of God : and 
under the observation of his eye, his piercing eye is upon 
us, he sees with what mind and design the speaker preach- 
eth ; he observes with what temper and disposition of 
mind every hearer heareth. This we are to our utmost to 
make you apprehensive of. And, 


2. Supposing deviations and wanderings, (to which we 
are always too prone,") we must summon you into the divine 
presence, so as to let the matter we deal with you about, 
be transacted as in that presence : we must deal with you 
as upon such a supposition as this. It is an easy thing for 
you to put off a man that speaks to you ?— you think you 
may boldly and safely slight the words of a poor mortal 
man : but we must have you into the presence of God, 
and all this affair must be transacted as under his eye. 
If you do disregard what a poor mortal man saith to you, 
come, let you and I go before the Lord now, here he is 
upon the throne ; pray, let him have the hearing of the 
controversy between you and us ; give him the hearing of 
it, let him see the state of the case, submit the matter be- 
tween us to his judgment, whether you ought not to 
receive such and such truths, whether you ought not to 
comply and yield to the authority of such and such pre- 
cepts, and whether you ought not to dread and shun to 
the uttermost such and such sins. Pray, let the great 
God have the hearing of the business ; we summon you 
into his presence, and would not have you regard us in 
what we say, but him. And if we should go to particular 
instances ; it may be, there are such and such sins that 
divers of you have been from time to time admonished of, 
and it hath been all in vain ; you would never give us the 
hearing; we have spoke (as it were) to the wind. Suppose 
a licentious young man have given up himself to walk in 
the way of his own heart; and we have reasoned the mat- 
ter with such, and debated it with them, whether it were 
not safer for them to be under the divine government, 
to walk according to divine prescriptions, thati follow the 
liurry and impetus of sensual inclinations; telling them this 
will be your death, this will be your ruin, this you will rue 
for another day ; but they will not hear us. Then we only 
say in this case, * Come, and let you and I go before the 
Lord ;' and let the matter be reasoned out in his sight, or 
in his hearing, and let him judge between you and us, whe- 
ther you ought not to hearken, whether it will be fit foryou, 
a creature, to oppose the will of your Creator; one that 
was raised out of the dust but the other day, to oppose 
your appetite and inclination to his authority, to his wis- 
dom, to his good, and righteous, and holy will ? Do but 
try, and see what courage and confidence you can have, 
thus to give the cause to your own will, fancy, and hu- 
mour, against his will, wisdom, and authority ; now you 

SER. IV.) Deals with Men's Consciences, and why '^ 81 

are brought before his throne, and now the matter comes 
to be transacted immediately as under his eye, between 
you and a poor messenger of his, that he employs in his 
work ; and so, though we can only directly do our own 
part in this business, as appealing to conscience under 
God's eye ; we must likewise put you upon your part, that 
is, must'summon you, and draw you in with us, into such an 
appeal to God, when we are dealing with your consciences 
in their souls' concerns. 

Now, by this time, 1 hope you see what this transaction 
with the consciences of men, as in the sight of God doth 
mean. And if. 

2ndly. You would know why it must be thus, why this 
transaction should be with the consciences of men in 
the sight of God, manifold reasons presently offer them- 
selves. As, 

1. it is his work that we are employed in, his business 
that we go about, when we speak to men to turn and live, 
when we would have them repent and believe the gospel ; 
when we would have you come back to God, and pay 
your homage unto him, it is his work that we are doing 
all this time. And why should we not, as much as it is 
possible, aim and endeavour, that we may see how his 
work is done ? That is, that we bring you under his eye 
as much as in us is. 

2. We go about this work of his continually in his 
name. It is his work, and done in his name ; by his autho- 
rity we continue in it, being sent of him. Why should not 
what is done in his name, be done under his eye, even of 
our own design and choice, as much as is possible, on the 
one hand and the other ? For whatsoever we are to do, 
we are to do in the Lord's name ; we that speak, are to 
speak in the Lord's name ; you that hear, are to hear in 
the Lord's name, or hear what is spoken in his name. 
And why should it not be a matter of choice with us, 
that all be transacted as under his eye and in his sight? 

3. He hath equal power over us, and over you ; his power 
obtains alike over all ; and v/here we are sure his power is 
alike over all, why should we not all endeavour alike to 
walk under his eye, and labour to approve ourselves to his 
eye, under which all are ? And, 

4. He perfectly knows all matters of fact that do belong 
to this transaction ; and, therefore, since we are sure he 

VOL. vni. G 


doth, it is better that we consider it, and accordingly, 
study to approve ourselves to his inspection; he doth 
know all the matter of fact ; he knows my thoughts, and 
all your thoughts, throughout this whole transaction, on 
such a day, and at such a time as this. And, 

5. He is the only competent judge of the matter of 
right; whether you or I do right or wrong, in reference to 
what is spoken and heard. And lastly, 

6. To be sure, he will be the finai judge; it is good 
for us to consent and agree to it, that he shall be the 
present judge, and that then this transaction be' carried 
on designedly under his eye ; he will be the judge at last, 
when the secret of all hearts shall be laid open, and there 
is no declining his judgment; certainly, therefore, it is 
the wisest and best course, as much as possible by consent, 
and willingly to bring things under his e3'e, and notice 
now; and endeavour to approve all this transaction to the 
inspection, the present inspection of that eye, the final 
judgment whereof we cannot avert. 

And so way is made for somewhat of use, in reference 
to this two-fold observation, that we have thus far insisted 
on : many things might be said, but for present take 

We may see by all this what the case is like, of them that 
live long disobedient to the voice of the gospel, under 
which they live. See a little and judge of the state of their 
case and affairs. They that live statedly under the gospel, 
must be supposed to have many applications made to their 
consciences, for that is the very business of the gospel, im- 
mediately to apply itself to the very consciences of men ; 
for you that have lived long under the gospel, (whether 
successfully or unsuccessfully,) there have been many 
applications made to your consciences, by those that have 
been employed in this work about matters of the highest 
importance and concern ; you had best consider with what 
success and with what effect ; but if it hath been with little, 
that is, if hitherto you have disobeyed the voice of that 
gospel, under which you have so long lived, it cannot but 
have been with very great regret, many turns and recla- 
mations of your consciences : if conscience were not a 
capable principle of judgment, when it is applied unto, 
when appeals are made to it, — it would be the vainest thing 
in all the world to talk of commending ourselves to the 
consciences of men, in the sight of God, as the apostle 

SER. IV.) Deals i^ith Men's Consciences, and whtff 83 

here speaks. Wh}' to their consciences ? It were as good 
do it to any thing else as conscience, — if conscience be not 
a principle susceptible of conviction, when it is applied 
unto. Therefore now let it be considered, that conscience 
is a judge wherever it hath place and is applied unto; it 
doth (as it were) keep its power; and, indeed, it is capable 
of sustaining several parts : where there is a judicature, 
there is a registry too ; and it is as well capable of record- 
ing thitjgs as of judging them. It may be, many have 
made it their business to slur and blot the records that are 
kept in the court of conscience. But that is a vain thing, 
this shall all come into view again. Every time that thou 
hast come, with a vain heart, into the presence of God ; 
every lime tliou hast offered here the sacrifice of a fool ; 
every time thou hast come like such an one, with thine 
eyes in the ends of the earth, when they should have been 
intent upon the Divine Majesty, to pay thy homage to 
him, every time thou hast opposed resolution against con- 
viction of conscience, thou wert convinced in thy con- 
science, certainly there must be a change, and a refor- 
mation ; things must not be with me as they have been ; 
it is not a right way I have been, but thou hast resolved I 
will not reform, — I will live as I have lived, do as 1 have 
done: every time that Christ hath been offered to thee, and 
thou host refused him, and he hath liad cause to complain, as 
in the prophet, " My people would not hearken to my voice ; 
Israel would have none of me." (Psalm Ixxxi. 11.) They 
that call themselves mine, profess themselves christians ; 
call themselves by my name, would have none of me; 
every time thou hast been urged, If thou wilt have life, 
thou must have the Son ; " he that hath the Son, hath 
life; and he that hath not the Son, hath not life." (John v. 
12.) Come, (saith God,) wilt thou have my Son ? Thou 
hast not said yea ; thy heart hath not consented ; and that 
is all one as if tliou hast said. No; when the thing hath not 
been done so often, hast thou been recorded a refuser of 
the Son of God ? thy conscience hath been convinced over 
and over, I ought to receive the Son of God ; this com- 
mand being brought to me from heaven, to believe in his 
name; that is, to resign myself to him, and submit myself 
to him; but I never did, I never have; this is a most 
fearful case, that there ever should be such records in a 
man's conscience against him ; to which there have been 
continual additions, from Lord's day to Lord's day, through 

o 2 


a long tract of time, and yet my course hath been tlie 
same. Notwithstanding all the reclamations of conscience, 
there hath been no reformation in my heart, none in my 
life ; I am just the same as I was seven or ten years ago ; 
so many convictions of conscience yet to be answered, for 
they never have been yet. Oh, think of the state of their 
affairs that have lived long under the gospel, disobedient 
to it. Conscience hath been still applied to, and appealed 
to in the sight of God, under his eye and notice ; and yet 
there hath been no consent, no compliance given ; " Happy 
is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he 
alloweth." (Rom. xiv. 22.) That carries a dreadful inti- 
mation. Cursed is he that condemneth himself in that thing 
which he alloweth ; that he alloweth. It was a good 
thing to have accepted the Son of God, to have turned to 
God, and come to an agreement with him in and by his 
Son, and to have broken off every evil way, and to have 
betaken myself to a strict and regular course of walking 
with God, a very good thing! What a cursed thing, a 
dismal thing is it then to condemn oneself in the thing 
which he alloweth ? J allow all this to be good, and so am 
self-condemned for not doing it. "" If our hearts condemn 
us, God is greater than our hearts." (1 John iii. 29.) When 
a man is condemned in his own heart ; when he hath a 
judgment in his conscience about any matter, indefinitely 
considered, and his practice runs counter, so as to bring 
himself unawares under the judgment of it. " Thou art 
inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest, for 
wherein thou judgest another, thou condemneth thyself." 
(Rom. ii. 1.) Which is spoken in reference to what was said 
in the foregoing words, " Who, knowing the judgment of 
God, that they who commit such things, are worthy of 
death, not onl}' do the same, but take pleasure in those 
that do them." (Rom. i. last verse.) They know that judg- 
ment; it stands as a judgment, and a righteous one in their 
view ; they themselves have judged this judgment to be 
right. Thou art then inexcusable, O man, that judgest in 
what thou judgest; thou hast judged such and such a way 
to be evil, and such and such a determination in reference 
thereunto to be righteous, and yet by doing that thing, thou 
dost run thyself under such a judgment and doom. Ohi 
what an inexcusable creature art thou ! 

SF.H V.) To be adapted to the Cotiscience. ^ 85 



Commendifig ourselves to every man^s conscience. 

Our business must be at this time (as you foreknow) the 
application of two of those observations tojrether, which 
have been gathered from these words, (two doctrines ap- 
phed together;) to wit, the second, that the great busi- 
ness of the ministry hes in an immediate transaction with 
men's consciences ; and the third. That this transaction 
with the conscience of men is to be managed in the sight 
of God. These two have been opened, and are now to 
be applied together ; and there are many things which it 
is very obvious to infer from the one or the other of them. 

1. That therefore, in carrying on the ministerial work, 
such things are mostly to be insisted on, as are most ac- 
commodate to conscience, and are apt to take hold of it ; 
and about which we may, with the greatest confidence and 
clearness, appeal to the consciences of men : when once 
it is understood what principle in men we are to apply 
ourselves to in the ministerial work, it is then very obvious 
to collect what sort of things we are principally to insist 
upon in the managing of it. And you see what that prin- 
ciple is ; it is not that we are wont to call wit, or fancy, or 
honour, or even the speculative understanding, or a dis- 
position to religious disputes, about little, and doubtful, 
and less necessary matters ; much less is it carnal appetite 
and inclination, that is to be concerned, so as to be pleased, 
or (at least) not to be displeased, not to be crossed, not to 
be vexed, not contended against; and, therefore, the things 
we have to say to men, in carrying on of our ministerial 
work, they must be quite of another nature from what 
would accommodate such principles as these in them. 
And you may easily apprehend how instructive this infer- 
ence may be to all of you ; and I hope you do apprehend 
it, though in the direct aspect of it, it doth only respect 
gospel ministers. And you might very well think it strange^ 

* Preached January 19, 1690. 
G 3 


and very little worth the while, that so many hundreds of 
persons should come together, only to hear ministers 
preach to one another; but yet, when you do understand 
what is fit for us to preach, you will also understand what 
is fit for you to hear, and what is necessary for you to 
receive, and to expect, and covet to hear most of all, and 
before other things ; and so you cannot but see of how 
universal concernment, what 1 now infer, must be to us 
all ; that is, that you are not to expect from us, (if we will 
faithfully pursue that which is our proper work, of applying 
ourselves directly and closely to the consciences of men ;) 
you are not to expect (1 say) fine and quaint sentences, 
elegant and well-formed orations; you are not to expect 
curious airy notions, and speculations ; and much less 
are you to expect, that we should only prophesy to you 
smooth and pleasant things, that we may be sure will 
not offend, that will not bear hard upon any man's incli- 
nations, how ill or irregular soever they may be ; you cannot 
think any thing of this to be our business, when we have 
conscience to deal with in this matter, and are to apply 
ourselves immediately and directly thither, and in the sight 
of God, and under bis eye : nor are you to expect that we 
should entertain you much with perplexed disputes about 
little and disputable matters; and which, commonly, by 
how much the more disputable they are, are so much the 
less necessary, God having so mercifully provided, that 
those things that sliould be most necessary, should be 
always plain, and so should need the least dispute. I 
know some have wondered, that when divers have very 
much concerned themselves in this juncture of time, both 
from the pulpit, and by the press, to propagate disputes 
about lesser differences, in matters of religion there should 
be so great a silence about these things among us ; and we 
must really and freely declare to you, we have no leisure 
to mind those lesser things, we are taken up about greater, 
and we think we are bound to be taken up about uns[)eak- 
ably greater things. I do consider again and again, that say^- 
ing ot the apostle, " Study to be quiet, and do your own bu- 
siness." (Thess. iv. 11.) And for my part, I think this to be 
our business, — to deal with the consciences of men in the 
plainest and most important things, such as are most apt to 
fasten upon and take hold of conscience, for as to those lesser 
things, there is much that is very disputable about them; 
some indeed do think those things to be indifferent, which 
others think to be unlawful in the worship of God ; yet 

sEFw V.) To be adapted to the Conscience. 87 

this is plain then, by consent on both sides, that they may 
be safely enough let alone, as to what they carry in them- 
selves ; and, therefore, we content ourselves to let them 
alone. This is plain, they may be well let alone: and 
when the apostle doth here speak of this thing, " by mani- 
festation of the truth, commending ourselves to every 
man's conscience in the sight of God," you see what, and 
about what things it was, by what follows : — " If our gos- 
pel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost;" why then, by 
the manifestation of such truth as is necessary to prevent 
men being lost ; that is, as is necessary in itself to their 
salvation, that they may not be lost ; it was by such things 
by which they sought to commend themselves to the 
conscience of every man, in the sight of God. I know, 
indeed, tliere is a necessity, commonly alleged by some 
for these lesser things ; that is, that though they are not 
necessary in themselves, they may become necessary as 
being enjoined. It is very true, indeed, if that were 
agreed on both sides, that they were indifferent, — we could 
readily say so with them; but they themselves very well 
know that that is not the state of the case between them 
and us ; while on the one side such things are indifferent, 
on the other side, it is said, in the worship of God it is 
unlawful. And though it be true, indeed, that we are 
bound to obey every injunction of man, for the Lord's 
sake; yet we are bound to obey none of them against 
him ; therefore, that is plain, about things in dispute, the 
safest way is to be unconcerned, in matters of which, there 
is some doubt. And every good man must concur with 
us in this principle, though the particular application of 
it to this or that case, the peculiarity and difference of 
their own judgment, obligeth them to disagree; but we 
shall certainly agree with all good and serious men, that 
differ from us about these lesser matters, in insisting 
principally and chiefly upon such matters as are necessary 
to save souls from being lost ; for it is plain, that good and 
serious men do so too. And let those matters alone for 
the mo^t part, and have as little mind to concern them- 
selves about them, as we liave; and no doubt, but that 
when we shall more generally agree to pursue such things 
most, as tend to promote and propagate the power of 
godliness, and keep it alive, and prevent (as much as in 
us is) all from acquiescing and taking up their rest, in 
any form whatsoever without it; when we shall all agree 
to make it our common business, to press the things that 

s 4 


do belong to living, real substantial godliness; and mutu- 
ally to seek one another's common welfare, as we would 
do our own : wheu we agree to press and insist on these two 
great capital things, upon which hang all tlie Jaw and the 
prophets; that is, loving the Lord our God, with all our 
hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our might,and with 
all our mind, and loving our neighbour as ourselves ; I 
doubt not, but as to all these lesser differences, or diflerences 
about lesser matters, either we shall come to an agree- 
ment about them too, in time ; or our disagreement will 
be upon the matter, equal to an agreement; — that is, we 
shall disagree without displeasure, without being angry at 
one another for our disagreement ; or, because that such 
and such will not make our consciences the measure and. 
standard of their's, — a poor matter of quarrel, and cer- 
tainly a most unrighteous one, that I should be offended 
at any man, because he will not make my conscience the 
measure of his; and it is upon the matter, all one in this 
our present state, whether there be a full and throughout 
agreement in every little thing, in judgment or practice; 
or, whether we can, very contentedly, bear with one ano- 
ther's differences. If we can do so, if we can disagree 
with "one another modestly, and without expecting that 
another should resign and surrender the judgment of his 
conscience to the government of mine : If we can dis- 
agree witli an humble sense of our common, yet remaining 
ignorance, and how little do all of us know^, and how much 
yet needs to be added to our knowledge, even about the 
most important things ; truly, disagreement upon such 
terms, so placid, so charitable, so calm, so unapt to offend, 
and which doth so little offend, will be a good step, — the 
next step to a perfect throughout agreement. It may be, 
tliat will never be in this world, or while our earthly state 
continues. But if our disagreement be thus managed, it 
will be less material ; whether it be or no unto our peace, 
it can never be necessary unto them that are of a peace- 
able temper and disposition of themselves aforehand ; but 
they who are not so, that have an unpeaceable temper and 
disposition in them, will always find one matter of quarrel 
and another; and if such things were once composed and 
taken up, would be sure to find out others; but this we 
may always reckon upon, that such as will be faithful in 
the ministerial work, we must expect to hear from them 
such things (as you have heard) that may carry in theni 
a recomniendableness to the consciences of men : in which. 

SER V.) To be adapted to the Conscietice. 89 

when conscience is urged with matter of duty upon them, 
it will apprehend a bo)ium : my conscience tells me I shall 
be the better for it if I take this course, if 1 walk in such 
a way as the great things w'hich concern the substance of 
r-eligion direct unto, whereas those lesser matters, when 
you come to seek in them for a honum, search into them 
for what they have of real good in them ; you think to 
grasp at them for somewhat, and you grasp at nothing ; 
you go to embrace them, and j'ou embrace only a shadow, 
and hug an empty cloud and no more. They are things 
which conscience cannot feel to have any real and sub- 
stantial goodness in them; — that then is the first thing 
hence inferred. Are we, in our ministerial work, to apply 
and commend ourselves to the consciences of men, and 
even in the sight of God ? We then must deal with them 
about such things, that are most apt and accommodate 
to this purpose, to take hold of men's consciences. 

2. If the w ork of the ministry do lie so much about men's 
consciences, we must reckon that the work of the Holy 
Ghost (who is to animate this ministry, and make it pros- 
perous) must lie first and most immediately about the 
consciences of men too ; not that it takes up there, but 
it is through conscience that it must touch men's hearts. 
"We commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the 
sight of God ; but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them 
that are lost, in whom the God of tliis world hath blinded 
the minds of them that believe not. But God who com- 
manded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined 
into our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of 
the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ." If you view 
the series of the discourse, you will find that that speaks 
(as well as the matter speaks) itself, that God's way is to 
shine into hearts through convinced consciences : and this 
ministration, in all the foregoing chapter that the apostle 
refers to, is called the manifestation of the Spirit, and by 
it we are " changed into the same image from glory to 
glory, beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord ; to 
wit, as by the Spirit of the Lord." "Therefore," (saith the 
apostle) in the following words, " having received this 
ministry, we faint not ;" a ministry, managed by the Holy 
Ghost. Now, if the immediate first subject of this mi- 
nistry hath to do with the consciences of men, then the 
consciences of men must be that which the Holy Ghost 
must have to do with too ; for the supreme Agent, and 
the subordinate, are both to operate upon thp same sub- 


ject^ — as you now that are writing, your hand and pen 
write upon the same paper, and not your hand upon one, 
and your pen upon another. It is conscience that is the 
seat of conviction, and thither the Holy Ghost, by the 
gospel ministry, doth apply itself for this purpose ; '^ When 
he is come, he shall convince the world of sin, and of 
righteousness, and of judgment." (John xvi. 8.) The Com- 
forter, (so we read it,) when he is come, shall do so and so, 
but sure we do much misread it when we read it so. 
Paracletos is the word, the paraclete, the proper signifi- 
cation is the advocate or pleader, a pleader as at law. 
The disciples were here overwhelmed with sorrow, to think 
what would become of them when their Lord was gone, 
of which he had been immediately foretelling them ; " Be- 
cause 1 have told you that 1 must be gone from you, sorrow 
hath filled your heart;" that is, they did recount with 
themselves, since he had told them, in the close of the 
foregoing chapter, that they should be witnesses for him, 
because they had been with him from the beginning; then, 
think they, the whole weight and stress of the christian 
cause in this world lies upon our shoulders, and we shall 
surely sink under it ; Who are we that we should think 
to set up a new religion in the world, — a religion, against 
which all sorts, both Jews and Gentiles have so rooted and 
natural a prejudice ? What, are we for this ? Why, saith 
our Lord Christ, never trouble yourselves, when I go, the 
advocate shall come,— that pleader, that mighty pleader; 
and he shall make strange work in the world when once he 
comes; he shall take up my cause; whereas i have been 
traduced and charged as a seducer, and a deceiver, he shall 
convince the world of sin, because they believe not in me, 
and of my righteousness and the equity of my righteous 
cause ; and, thereupon, of the very completing and per- 
fection of that righteousness, which is to be had by me, 
which depends thereupon; and of judgment, when 1 shall 
be known to be enthroned, and to have all government, 
and principality, and ])ovver, put under me, or into my 
hands, — and so the christian cause shall live, and spread, 
and triumph, when I am gone, and so much the more for 
my being so, for if I be not gone, that great pleader will 
not come, and when he comes, this shall be his great 
business, conviction, — he shall fasten such conviction 
upon the consciences of men, they shall not be able to 
withstand and baffle. Oh, when that mighty Spirit comes 
among us, then will no man be able to persist in a carnal 

SER. T.) To he adapted to the Conscienee. 91 

course and habit of heart and life; but this Spirit will 
make them weary of it, they will never be able to endure 
the weight and pressure of his convictions, when 
through the gospel ministry he comes to fasten and take 
hold of consciences, and to implead them upon such an 
account. What? Is this Christianity ? Is this like a living 
union with the Son of God^ the Lord from heaven? To 
live continually like worms of this earth, grovelling in the 
dust, always minding and savouring, no higher, and no 
greater thing ? But, again, 

3. Is the ministerial work to be managed in the very- 
sight of God, with the consciences of men? Then (this 
having a very ill look upon the kingdom and interest of 
the wicked one) it is obvious further to infer, that the 
devil's work must lie very much too about the consciences 
of n)eu; that is to blind conscience, to cheat consci- 
ence, to deceive conscience, to disguise and misrepresent 
things to the consciences of men ; so you see it allows, 
if our gospel be hid, — if it doth not reach home with con- 
victive and energetical light to the very consciences of 
men, it is because " the god of this world hath blinded 
their minds ;" it doth reach home with such light, except 
to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath 
blinded their minds. If men cannot see what is their 
way and duty in very plain and evident things; as that a 
man, who was a sinner even by nature, and under wrath, 
can never be acceptable to God, but for the sake of a 
Redeemer; and never for his sake, if he have not living 
union with him, if he be not in him, and so in him as to be 
a new creature, — old things being done away, and all 
things being become new. If men cannot see truth in so 
plain matters as these, that speak themselves to every 
man's conscience, it is, because the God of this world 
hath blinded their eyes. If the work of the Gospel, and 
of the Spirit that breathes in it, be with the consciences of 
men, the devil's work must lie there too ; if it be possible 
to blind conscience and disguise things to conscience ; 
that is, to corrupt men's judgments of things, and to make 
them to apprehend things otherwise than they are. And 
so it was that he did apply himself to our first parents, 
only b}' putting false glosses upon those plain preceptive 
and minatory words that should have obliged and awed 
conscience. Oh, never think God meaneth such severity 
to you, ye shall not die if you eat of this fruit; never 
think he intended you should die ; no, this is that will 


make you wise and knowing, far beyond what you are, 
you will be as gods, knowing good and evil. His busi- 
ness was to put a false gloss and colour upon things, to 
deceive their judgments and consciences, and to lead 
them into transgression, and this his design is still to 
keep men in that state of apostacy into which he had 
drawn them from returning to God, only by imposing 
upon and cheating their consciences. Notwithstanding 
this loose and careless course you hold, never trouble 
3'ourselves, all will be w^ell enough, a formal religion will 
serve the turn, and be less painful and laborious to you 
than that real one, and that living one that is from time 
to time so much pressed upon you. It will serve your 
turn to go to church, or go to a meeting, and hear a ser- 
mon on the Lord's day, and live as you list all the week 
long, you never need concern yourselves further. All the 
devil's care is to keep conscience from doing its duty 
and its proper office, that if it be applied and appealed to 
by us, in the ministry of the gospel, you may not attend 
it ; it may not be at leisure to hear what we say, that it 
may be kept asleep, or diverted some way or other, or 
that it may otherwise attend things than according to the 

4. We ma3^ further infer, hence, that since the business 
of the ministry is to transact with conscience, from time to 
time, in the very sight of God : they that live under such a 
ministr}', if conscience ever come to be awakened into ex- 
ercise, they must live a very weary life, if thcj' live in a 
course of sin and estrangement from God. They that will, 
(I say,) under such a ministry, sin on still, and wander 
from God, still they will lead a very weary life ; it must 
needs be a very uneasy course that such must hold in the 
world ; for if conscience be awakened and do attend, they 
will be continually hearing things that tend to disturb and 
disquiet them, and make them apprehend danger, and see 
themselves like to be ruined, and undone, and lost, in the 
course that they hold : and therefore, certainly, the case is 
very deplorable of such persons, who, under such a minis- 
try, do still live in sin, whether they live in a course of 
very gross wickedness, or whether they keep in a course of 
vain formal religion, and no more. They must be very 
uneasy if conscience be awake ; and if conscience be not 
awake, it is worse, and their case more deplorable. And 
really it is dismal to think of it, that si^uch persons should 
bear so much, from day to day, that hath a tendency in it 

SER. V.) To be adapted to the Cunscience. 93 

lo make them to fear and suspect their present way, and 
present state, with so little effect ; for on they go, only be- 
cause (though that be uneasy to them) they apprehend to 
get that sin subdued and mortified, that hath governed in 
them and had the throne, will be more uneasy ; and since 
it comes to pass, that, things being brought to this pass, 
either sin must be mortified, or conscience must be morti- 
fied, they betake themselves to the latter. If they cannot 
be patient of it, that sin must die, and undergo mortifica- 
tion, then, of consequence, they must betake themselves 
to this, that conscience must undergo this dying and mor- 
tification ; and so, really, they have a very uneasy task of 
it, that they must, for their own peace sake, be continually 
fighting against conscience, from one Lord's day to ano- 
ther, and endeavouring that it may let them alone in their 
old security, in their old carnality, in their old neglect of 
God. Here is their business with their consciences. Oh, 
conscience, let me live in neglect of Christ, and be quiet! 
Let me live fearless of God in this life, and be quiet ! Let 
me live a prayerless life, and be quiet! But conscience 
cannot very easily submit to let such be quiet, because 
there are such courses taken, from time to time, while they 
live under such a ministry, whereby we must be applying 
ourselves to their consciences, in the sight of God. This 
awakens conscience afresh, and then it must be laid asleep 
again; so toilsome and uneasy a way of it have some to 
perdition; they are fain to fight their way to hell, even 
through so many and so great-difficulties. And, 

5. We may further infer, that if the gospel ministry is 
principally to be taken up in dealing with tlie consciences 
of men in the sight of God, it can be no shame to any man 
to be in this way conquered and subdued, and brought un- 
der to the foot of God in Christ; it can be no shame to 
any body to be thus conquered : for to be conquered by 
conscience, is, upon the matter, to be conquered by him- 
self. You have no reason to be ashamed to be conquered 
by yourself; you yield to yourself in the case; you yield 
to your own light, that which God hath made your own; 
you yield to your convinced judgment; you have no cause 
to be ashamed of that. It is a shame for a man to be 
cheated, to be imposed upon, to be made to appear a fool, 
as every sinner is that goes on in the way of his own heart, 
** disobedient, and deceived, serving divers lusts and plea- 
sures." Titus iii. 3. But it is no shame for a man to be un- 
deceived ; it is no shame for a man to be brought to exer- 


cise a right judgment, once certified and set aright in him. 
This is a glory, to be thus conquered ; you are indeed con- 
quered; you alter your course; you cease to be what you 
were : but it is brought to that pass, you do but yield to 
yourself, yield to your own light, yield to j'our own judg- 
ment, and to the power of that conviction you see is no 
longer to be withstood. And upon the same account, 

6. They that do conquer conscience and gospel-light in 
such a sense, have no reason to boast of their victory ; they 
have very little reason to brag; they that can sa}^ and tell 
their companions, I have heard such and such a sermon, 
and it put me into a deadly qualm ; I knew not what to do; 
my heart almost failed me, and began to misgive me; and 
I began to think within myself, I must alter my course, 1 
must become a Christian in good earnest: I had sucii 
thoughts as these, and such inclinations, but I have over- 
come them ; 1 have conquered conscience; I have got the 
victory over them. Alas ! these men have little reason to 
boast of this, of having conquered their reason, judgment, 
conscience, and light, and made these to give place to 
lust and sensual inclinations ; when a man hath been sum- 
moned and called into the presence of God, and hath had 
so mighty a load laid upon his spirit, as to have such a 
thing contested with him in the sight of God, and under 
the divine eye, yet he hath conquered it, got the victory; 
this, certainly, he hath no cause to boast or brag of. A 
dismal victory! a few such victories as these will undo him 
quite. If God should let you carry the cause, carry the 
victory, from day to day, this victory will end in a total 
and endless ruin. Again, 

7. We may further infer, that, since this ministerial 
work is to be managed with the verN' consciences of men in 
the sight of God, it is one of the most weighty solemn 
things that a man can possibly go about, to hear a sermon 
where he is likely to be dealt with at this rate; that is, ge- 
nerally to go to hear a gospel sermon, according to the 
true import of the gospel, and the true design of the gospel 
ministry, it is one of the av.ffullest solemnest things that a 
man can go about in the world ; for he ought to reckon in 
this case, I am now going to such a place, and for what ? 
Why, it is to hear a sermon, in which I expect my con- 
science is to be appealed to all along ; and it is to be ap- 
pealed unto in the sight of God; and the minister will sum- 
mon me into the presence of God : and if I do not yield, — 
but my heart hesitate«, and stands off, — I expect to hear 

SER. V.) To be adapted io the Conscience. 95 

this from him; Come, let you and I debate this matter in 
the sight of God, before the throne of God, and sec if you 
know how to baffle conscience, and reject its convictions, 
in thesight of God, and while God looks on and audits the 
business between you and me, and between you and your 
own consciences. It is a great thing to go to hear a ser- 
mon upon such terms : many little think what tiicy do, 
when they run to a sermon as they would to a play, or to 
such a meeting as they would to a bear-baiting : but if they 
would but consider what the gospel ministry is, and wherein 
it lies, in a transaction with men's consciences, and that 
transaction to be managed in the sight of God, they would 
find it an awful thing to go to hear a sermon upon these 

2d Use. i\nd, therefore, now for a conclusion to be 
added to these inferences, as somewhal of further use, 
pray let this put you, in the next place, upon reflection, 
upon considering; you have lived long under the gospel, 
under the ministry of it; the very business whereof was to 
transact with your consciences in the sight of God. Pray 
do but inquire, 

1. Have you been wont to engage your consciences in 
this ti'ansaction ? And, 

2. Have you been wont to do it as in the sight of God, 
yea or nay? for hitherto you have been called, to this you 
have been called ; your consciences have been applied and 
appealed to : have you heard their voice answering thus; 
Why, I am called to a transaction, to my part in a trans- 
action I agree readily, my conscience shall be appealed to? 
And, further, have you agreed the transaction shall be in 
the sight of God, answering thus; " I am willing to be 
judged by the impartial supreme Judge, and if 1 cannot 
approve myself in his sight, 1 will condemn and abase my- 
self in his sight?" 1 pray, hath it been wont to be so with 
you in that lonfi tract of time wherein you have sat under 
the gospel ? Have you engaged conscience in such a trans- 
action as this? And have you done it in the sight of God, 
from time to time? If you have not, hence is your not 
profiting ; hence is your sitting under the gospel, from year 
to year, to no purpose. Conscience hath been spoken to, 
and would never answer; you have been careful to keep it 
asleep, to keep it undisturbed; you have declined the 
divine presence ; you would not come and present your- 
selves before the judicature of God ; you have laboured to 
stifle all such thoughts as much as in you was ; your case is, 


then, as our Saviour represents it with the Jews : " Whereto 
shall 1 liken this generation ; they are like children sitting 
in the market place, and calling their fellows, and saying, 
we have piped unto you, and ye have not danced ; we have 
mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented." Matt. xi. 
16. Even so it is with this generation. And is it not so 
with our generation, too? We speak to the consciences 
of men, and they do not echo back; they give no corre- 
spondent answer: when we would transact with them, they 
are dead, or asleep. And hence, no good is done ; con- 
science is not engaged ; it will not advert to the business 
in hand ; it minds it not: and thereupon the kingdom of 
God doth not suffer violence, (Matt. xi. 12.) as in that 
same context; " For until now (sailli our Saviour) the 
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take 
it by force." But now there is a dead calm, a dead Hat, 
and we pipe to men, and they do not dance; we mourn lo 
them, and they do not lament; there is no echo, no cor- 
respondent voice. This is now (saith he) the case of this 
generation. But I might here be a little more particular i.n 
my inquiry. And, 

1. You know you have been often urged and pressed, as 
to a thing wherein the very substance of all religion doth 
inchoatively consist and lie, all serious and living religion ; 
that is, a solemn surrender of yourselves to God in Christ. 
" Yield yourselves to God." Rom. vi, 13. " Present your- 
selves to him a living sacrifice." Rom. xii. I. As it is said 
of those Christians, " They gave themselves to the Lord." 
2 Cor. viii. 5. Hath not this been a thing plain to your 
consciences, that j^ou ought to have done so ? And have 
none of you lived in the neglect of it to this day? You 
could never find a leisure time wherein solemnly to apply 
yourselves to God in Christ, and say, Lord, I now come to 
surrender to thee thine own ; I have brought thee back a 
stray, a wandering creature, myself, my own self: accept 
a poor wandering soul, that now desires to give up itself to 
thee, and take thee, in Christ, for rnine. A plain thing as 
any thing can be to any conscience of man : conscience 
hath been frequently applied to in this case, as in the sight 
of God, and yet, from year to year, no such thing as this 
hath ever been done. Again, 

2. To consider how often you have been spoken to about 
solemn preparation for such a day's work as this; to come 
with prepared hearts, in some measure, at least to design 
to come prepared to the holy solemnities of such a day. 

SER. V.) To be adapted to the Conscience. 97 

God knows how often you have been applied to, and con- 
science hath been spoken to in this matter; but with what 
effect, you in great part know, that still are wont to rush 
upon the sacred solemnities of such a day without con- 
sidering — It is for my life, for my soul; it is in order to 
eternity, that I am approaching into the presence of God ; 
and that it is that God that made me, I have to do wilh; 
him I am going to serve, him I am going to seek. 

3. How often liath conscience been appealed to about 
prajer ? A course of prayer ? Of secret closet prayer, and 
family prayer? God knows witli what effect. A dismal 
thing, if any of you have suffered a conviction of con- 
science about this years ago, and yet still live in the neglect 
of this, against conscience, to this very day. And, 

4. About the great business of watchfulness, concerning 
which we have heasd so much of late. Conscience hath 
been thtre applied to, as in the sight of God. Pray consi- 
der, are any of us become more watchful for it over our 
spirits, and over our way and course? it will be of great 
concernment to us, to urge ourselves, faithfully, and im- 
partially, with such questions and inquiries as these. 

And then, to close all, pray hereupon let us be per- 
suaded and prevailed upon more to commune with con- 
science, and to commune with it in the sight of God, 
seeing we are in the sight of God put upon it. And to 
comply with conscience, yield to it, comport with it, and 
if (as was said) we cannot find our case to admit of it, that 
our consciences sliould justify us before God, let our coji- 
sciences condemn us before God, let them judge us before 
God. If we judge ourselves, we shall not be judged of the 
Lord : we shall then have tlie matter thus taken up between 
him and us; otherwise, we still remain liable to his severe 
and uncontroulable judgment. And to urge this, pray do 
but weigh these few things. 

1. That conscience, often baflied, will grow stupid. It 
is the way to stupify conscience to baffle it often : if you 
get an habit of that, of running counter to light, and of 
imposing upon conscience, and bearing it down, it will 
become so tamely passive, that it will lay no restraint upon 
you, — you may do what you will ; conscience will say no 
more, but let you take your course. 

2. If you do so, the Spirit of God will retire too, and 
withdraw, and not assist conscience, which (as we are 
told) it doth in a way of rcfiex operation; but it doth as 
much (no doubt) in a way of direct operation, too: it 

VOL. viu. n 


works with conscience ; and then conscience ceaseth, v/hen 
there is a cessation of all such exercise with conscience ; 
the Spirit can no more converse with us, than with that 
which is dead ; when that thing is dead, quite dead, mor- 
tified into a total utter death, wherewith the Spirit of God 
should converse with us, then it retires, and is gone, in 
displeasure, as being grieved, vexed, and quenched. Oh, 
what a dreadful thing is that! It is a terrible thing when 
the Spirit is retired and gone, merely upon ihat resistance 
that he hath met with in our consciences. His business 
was to co-operate with them, to work with them, and by 
them. And we have made it our business to stupify con- 
science, to stifle and suppress it : and if the Spirit be gone 
thereupon in displeasure, this is a fearful thing. And con- 

3. That if, through the mercy of God, conscience should 
ever yet awake, and the Spirit return, by how much the 
longer it hath been stifled, so much the more terrible it will 
roar upon you, when it doth return. And if you be saved 
at length, you will be" saved as by fire," as I may allude to 
those words of the apostle. But, 

4. If it never awake in this world, by how much the 
more industriously it hath been kept asleep in you, and by 
how much the less it hath done the part of an instructor 
and director, so much the more it will do the work of a 
tormentor hereafter, an everlasting tormentor. And this is 
a most dismal thing, for an intelligent immortal spirit to 
come down into perdition, into the place of torment, with 
open eyes, and to , be asked there, " How camest thou 
hither?" and to be forced to answer, " It was by running 
all my time against my light; it was by contending against 
my conscience, and the grace of the Spirit of God, to the 
very last; so I made my way to perdition." Then that 
conscience that could never be heard before, will be heard 
then, and will be felt; the worm that dies not, gnawing 
eternally, even eternally upon the soul, amidst that fire 
and those flames that shall never be quenched. But, in 
the last place, 

5. Consider, too, the sweet peace and tranquillity that 
must ensue upon complying with conscience all along ; fol- 
lowing its light, obeying its convictions, keeping up a 
correspondence betwixt your judgments and consciences, 
and the temper of your spirits, and the course of your 
walking. This is an heaven upon earth. If our hearts 
condemn us nor, then have we confidence towards God. 

SER. VI.) To be adapted to the Conscience. 99 

Upon these terms we may look in upon our soulsj, nnd be- 
hold all quiet : I have seen my way, and walked in it, as t le 
grace of God hath kept me. " This is my rejoicing, the tes- 
timony of a good conscience, that in simplicity and godly 
sincerity; not by fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, 
I have had my conversation in the world ;" which is heaven 
on this side heaven. How pleasant Sabbaths would you 
keep on these terms, when, looking back upon the last 
week, you have tlie testimony of your conscience; I have 
laboured lo my uttermost to exercise a good conscience 
towards God and towards men, according lo the light that 
I have received from his word, and by that gospel ministry 
under which I am: With how much peace shall a man 
upon one Lord's day look back upon his course through the 
foregoing week, since the former Lord's day r I'his would 
make Sabbaths pleasant days to you, upon the review of 
that sweet commerce you have had with him in former 
times, and in e3:pectation of being thus led on, from Sab- 
bath to Sabbath, to the everlasting Sabballi, at length, 
ihat remains for the people of God. 


2 Corinthians, iv. 2. 

Commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sigJU 

of God. 

We have considered the words according to what, in 
themselves, they do import, and it remains now only to 
consider them (as we also proposed to do) in the reference 
to which they bear to the foregoing verse. '' Therefore, as 
we have received this ministry, we faint not, but have 
renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, commending 
ourselves." And so it appears very plain that this course 
which the servants of God have held, in managing their 
ministerial work, to apply themselves directl)^ therein to 
the consciences of men, hath been one of their great pre- 
servations against fainting in their work ; so that they have 

* Preached February 22, 1600. 
H 2 


pursued it with so much the more vigour and resolution 
upon this account, that herein they have made it their bu- 
siness to recommend themselves in the very siglit oF God 
to the consciences of men. And so we have this observa- 
tion, as hath been already told you. 

4th Doctrine. That the faithful ministers of the gospel, 
from their applying in their work to the very consciences 
of men, have very great encouragement to go on in it 
without fainting. And hence it will be requisite only, 

1. To shew, briefly, what this fainting means. And 

2. To shew you how great an encouragement against it 
this is; to wit, their applying themselves all along directly 
to the very consciences of men, even in the sight of God. 

1. What this not fainting meaneth. Fainting (as was 
told you) is two-fold, as is obvious to all, either bodily, 
or mental ; and it is manifest, this is mental fainting that 
is here disclaimed and disavowed, such as we find men- 
tioned in Hebrews xii. 3. " Lest ye be weary and faint 
in your minds." Our minds do not faint in our work, 
while we are enabled to recommend ourselves in it to 
every man's conscience in the sight of God; and that 
fainting of the mind is again two-l'old, it signifies either 
sloth or laziness, or else despondency and dejection of 
spirit : the word rendered fainting, hath this double im- 
port in the otlier places of scripture, where we find the 
same word used : " Our Lord spake a parable to such a 
purpose, to leach us to pray always, and not to faint." 
Luke xviii. at the beginning. That we neither grow 
slothful in it, nor despond upon it, so, be not weary of 
well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint 
not. Gal. vi. 9. If you do not grow worse, if you do not 
suffer yourselves to be seized with a. spirit of sloth, and 
if you do not yield to a desponding spirit. Now to be 
encouraged in our spirits doth include the opposite of 
these ; for by how much the more there is of holy for- 
titude ill any man's soul, so much the more there will be 
of. lively and active vigour accompanying and going along 
with it. 

And it is the design of the Apostle in this negative 
expression, to conjoin both these, fortitude and diligence, 
in opposition to despondency and sloth ; and that there 
doth arise a very great spring of such enlivening vigour 
and fortitude, from this very reflection, that the faithful 
miiiisteis of Christ may have upon the course of their 

SER. V].) Grounds of Encouragement therein. 101 

procedure in their work, viz., That they have constantly 
all along in it, made it their business to recommend 
themselves to the consciences of men in the sight of God. 
That is the thing. I am now, 

2. To make out unto you, (having shewn you what this 
not fainting meaneth;) and this encouragement (which, 
from our applying ourselves to the consciences of men we 
do receive) will appear to be different, or to arise to us in 
different ways, according to the different consideration 
we may have of the thing itself, this application to con- 
science in the sight of God ; that may be considered two 
ways, either in the effect or in the design. 

In the effect; the immediate effect 1 mean, and that is 
the conviction of conscience. The immediate effect of 
such application to conscience, is, the conviction of con- 
science; and the design thereof, that imports our steady 
aimings at this thing, to fasten conviction on men's con- 
sciences, as much as is possible to us : ihe former of 
these, therefore, speaks the convictiveness of this appli- 
cation to conscience, and the latter speaks the sincerity 
of it. The former is grounded on, and referred to, the 
former words in the text, " commending ourselves to every 
man's conscience ;" and the latter refers to the latter words, 
" in the sight of God ;" for as the convictiveness of this 
application terminates upon conscience itself: so sincerity 
herein terminates upon God, or upon the eye of God, who 
is the only judge of sincerity ; hereupon these are the two 
things that are so very encouraging in this case, — the 
convictiveness of this application to conscience, and the 
sincerity of it. 

1. The convictiveness of it ; that is, a very encouraging, 
enlivening, fortifying thing to the heart of a serious mi- 
nister, and one who is faithful in his work, and Jhat from 
a two-fold account; to wit, as considering such a con- 
viction of the consciences of men, (for we are now con- 
sidering the effect and the aptitude of this application to 
produce and work it ;) I say, considering this conviction of 
men's consciences, — 1st. As the direct way to their con- 
version. And 2ndly, As that which however gains for the 
great God a testimony in their own very souls. 

1st. It is a mighty encouraging thing, as it is the direct 
way to their conversion. If men be convinced, if the wonis 
of the gospel do once take hold of their consciences, this 
leads to conversion, it hath a tendency thitherward ; and 
though we do not know that we convince the consciences 

H 3 

102 THE GOSPEL MlNlS'lllT 

of men ; we do not certainly know it. but when we are 
told; we sometimes are told, some do come to us, and 
own their convictions, and declare them to us; yet if" we 
do but hope from the very evidence of what we see, that 
conscience is taken hold of, that some conviction is im- 
pressed on the consciences of them that hear us ; this hope 
invigorates, enlivens, animates us, helps somewhat against 
fainting in our work. " Having this hope," (saith the Apos- 
tle in the close of the foregoing chapter, and referring to the 
self-same thing,) "we use great boldness of speech ;" we read 
it plainness of speech, boldness it signifies ; having this 
hope, we use great parressi/, we use great freedom of 
speech; we speak as men that do expect to prevail, as 
those that look not to be baffled, nor to be disappointed 
in what we are designing in this matter, in our treaties and 
transactions with the souls, and especially with the con- 
sciences of men. We use great freedom of speech, liav- 
ing this hope, saith he: and so, in the following chapter, 
knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men ; we 
persuade men, and are made manifest to God, and we 
trust, also, we are manifest in your consciences. 2 Cor. v. 
11. We trust we are, we hope we are, manifest in your 
consciences ; and, therefore, we persuade with so much 
the more vigour, and so much the more earnestness, as 
apprehending, as trusting, and hoping, that you do in your 
consciences believe the things to be true, and real, and 
important, that we deal with you about: and that this 
must needs be a very enlivening thing, and tends much 
to animate a serious minister of Christ, and one who is 
in good earnest with his work, will appear if you do but 
consider tliese two things ; — 1st. What reason a man hath 
to hope, that conviction of conscience may end in con- 
version. And 2ndly. Consider how encouraging a thing 
this hope of conversion must itself be. These two 
things are distinctly to be considered, to make out our 
present purpose. 

1. There is reason to hope, that when conviction hath 
taken hold of men's consciences, it may end in conversion ; 
and so the hope of this, arising from the very plain evi- 
dence of things, that there is some conviction wrought 
in the minds and consciences of men, it gives ground to a 
farther hope, to an higher hope ; if they become convinced 
more may become of it. if our blessed Lord Jesus Christ 
hath by this nieans made way into their consciences, it is to 
be hoped he will find a way into their liearts ; and sure the 

SER. vi.) (j rounds u/ K/ic Jiuuire/neul t/iereiit. 103 

hope of converting souls is not altogether witliout ground, 
if we ma}' hope that there are convictions wrought in 
the mind and conscience, and that upon these several 
accounts, to wit, 

(1.) This is the only way by which, ordinarily and accord- 
ing to tlie constitution of liuman nature, the hearts of men 
are accessible. They are accessible but this way, that is, 
tiirough their convinced consciences : — they are not other- 
wise accessible, than as liglit is let into their consciences, 
by which they may discern the truth, the greatness, the 
importance, the necessity of the things themselves tljat 
we deal with them about. And, 

(2.) This is the gaining of a soul in part, the convincing 
of his conscience, the design is an entire conquest of the 
wliole soul ; this is a work that consists of parts, and is 
to be done by parts ; and when the conscience is w^on, here 
is p;irt of this work done, and there is so much the less 
behind; there is less to do than if men's consciences 
were not in the least apprehensive as yet what they 
were to believe, or what they were to do in order to 
their being saved. 

(3.) The very leading part, the introductive part of the 
work is done, wiien this is done; when conscience is con- 
vinced about tlie great things proposed to men in the 
gospel ; so that they say, I do in my conscience apprehend 
this to be reasonable, just, and necessary, which 1 am 
required to do by the same gospel; when this (I say) is 
done, the leading introductive part of the work is done. 
As in going about to take a rebel-garrison, there is a 
mighty tiling done if a port be gained, and especially if 
the noblest port belonging to such a garrison be taken. 
And it is the Apostle's similitude afterwards in this Epistle, 
2 Cor. X. 4, 5. " For the weapons of our warfare are not 
carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of 
strong holds, and the subjecting every thought and ima- 
gination to the obedience of Christ." The conscience or 
practical judgment is subjected, so that we have an end 
of men's counter-risings; they have nothing in their judg- 
ment to oppose, their imaginations they are gained, their 
notions, their thoughts, their apprehensions are certified 
and set right in these points. This is now a great thing, 
for it is the leading tiling, and the introductive thing, in 
order to the work of conversion. The judgment, which, 
(I say) in reference to matters of practice, is conscience; 
that is the leading faculty, and when once that is gained, 
and a conquest is obtained over that, it is as if, in the 

H 4 


taking (as was said) of a rebel garrison, the counter-scarp 
is won, or the great port-roydl is won, which is a great 
thing. And, 

(4.) Not only when conscience is convinced is the soul 
so far won, gained, subdued, and brought under; but it is 
also turned against the rest that hold out, as if in the 
taking of some principal fortress; besides that the oppo- 
sition from what part is gained ceaseth, suppose a battery 
be placed there against the rest that stands out ; and this 
is the case, when conscience is once brought under convic- 
tion by the power and evidence of the great things of the 
gospel ; here is a battery placed against an obstinate will, 
against perverse inclinations,againstunruly,tumu]tuous affec- 
tions and passions ; so that now the man is made to batter 
himself if conscience be once convinced ; but if there be an 
inclination in the sinner still to persist, and go on in his way 
of sin, he dotli it at his own peril, and even at his own 
peril from himself, for a convinced conscience will 
infer this, that he must be continually battering himself, 
and galling himseif,and shooting arrows and darts against 

Aiiu when the matter is once brought to this, there is 
some hope in the case that the sinner will turn, is like to 
turn, for there is not only so much of his stren.gth gone 
for persevering in a sinful course, but it is turned and 
bent against him. Christ hath now got a party within 
. him, and the colours of our great Lord and Redeemer are 
displayed in the fort-royal, he is then demanding entrance 
into the soul. Let the everlasting gates of the soul fly 
open, that the King of Glory may enter in ; the kingdom 
of God is nigh, just at the door, even at the very door, 
when conscience is convinced about the great things of 
the gospel, the very port is taken, and the ensigns of our 
glorious Lord displayed there, so that it must require a 
great deal of obstinacy against iiim ; now that the kingdom 
of God and the kingdom of Christ are so very near at the 
door, and the voiceof the summons sounds at the gate, Sin- 
ner, surrender now to th}' rightfvi! Lord, yield or perish. If 
this be said to him, and he is convinced already, I have 
no other way but to yield or die, and there is hope of 
safety in yielding; this carries a great appearance that 
conversion is towards, the matter is drawing to a blessed 
issue with such a poor soul. And, 

(5.) When conscience is thus gained and won upon by so 
immediate direct application to it in the management 
of this work, the way is now open for the intromitting 

SER. VI.) GroKiuh of Encouragcinoit thereiu. 105 

and setting in whatsoever considerations besides may be of 
any use towards ihe bringing of" tlie soul to a surrender and 
compliance with the Lord Jtsus; that closure with him 
wherein the work of conversion doth most formally consist 
and lie; a turning to the Lord, as the expression is in the 
close of the foregoing chapter. If conscience be con- 
vinced, then is here way made for terrible considerations 
to be let in upon the soul. And if conscience be con- 
vinced, here is way made for most comfortable considera- 
tions to be let in upon the soul too; the way is open to 
reach and apply both these great principles of fear and of 
hope, which are mighty engines, by which the souls of men 
are turned this way or that : here are all the tremendous 
considerations that can be thought of, for which wa}' is 
open, if conscience be convinced, I am a sinner, a guilty 
creature, I lie obnoxious to Divine justice and revenge 
every moment; indignation and wrath, tribulation and an- 
guish, they are my portion; nothing else is due to me. 
And then, at the same time, if conscience be convinced of 
the truth of the gospel, here is an open way made for all 
consolatory considerations that might move the principle 
of hope; Christ is represented as ready to receive a return- 
ing soul. The sinner must be supposed to believe, in his 
own conscience, that it is most certainly true, Christ will 
not reject a poor soul that throws itself at his feet, as ready 
to perish : *' Him that cometh to me 1 will in no wise cast 
out." In my conscience, must the sinner say, I believe 
this is true: he would never have come down into this 
world, and become man, and have died on a cross, to save 
sinners, if he would throw away a soul that returns to him, 
and casts itself upon him: I believe, in my conscience, this 
is true, that as I am lost if I come not to a closure with the 
Son of God in believing, so 1 cannot but be safe if 1 do. 

(6.) There is reason for this hope that such convictions 
may end in conversion, because that very ministry that is 
thus directed to conscience, that is levelled at conscience, 
and hath done it with such effect already, is the ministra- 
tion of the Holy Ghost, the ministration of the Spirit and 
life, as it is largely discoursed in the foregoing chapter 
throughout, and which makes the apostle say," having this 
ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not." 
This ministry; what ministry? Not a dead letter, but an 
animated ministry; that is, (as it were,) the very vehicle 
of life and spirit ; therefore, we faint not ; therefore, we go 


on with all the vigour which a lively hope can give us in 
our work; as if lie should have said. Why should we not 
hope to prevtiii, when we apply ourselves to the spirits of 
men, of creatures that can understand, that can use 
thought f .Our business doth not lie with slocks, and 
stones, and brutes; but we apply ourselves to the very con- 
sciences of men, the very spirits of men ; and we do it un- 
der the conduct of the Divine Spirit, whose ministration it 
is that is put into our hands; wh}' tlien should we not hope 
to prevail r Why should we not iiope, that tiicy that come 
unconverted, should go away converted, at least if we can 
prevail upon them so lar as that they are once brought to 
admit of conviction ? And yet, 

(7.) There is further reasc;n for this hope, from what hath 
been done already in the same way, and by the same agency. 
We have read of thousands that have fallen under the 
power of this ministry ; thousands at once, as jn that, 
Acts ii. 37, who have been pierced to the very iieart, and 
cried out; " Men and brethren, what shall we do r" Heart 
doth comprehend and take in conscience there ; the govern- 
ing faculty, together with the governed, as is usual in 
scripture, to take heart in that latitude. A serious faithful 
servant of Christ in this work hath reason to argue thus; 
Quicquid fieri pot uit potest. Ihat which hath been done, 
and by the same agency, that method which hath suc- 
ceeded to so happy purposes before, the like may be done 
again in the same way, by the same agency, and in the same 
method, why should not we expect, why should not we 
hope for it ? especially if we add, 

(8.) Lastly, that this ministry, in connection with the 
same power and presence, is promised to be continued to 
the end of the world : " Go and teach all nations ;" I ap- 
point you to go and make my claim to all the creation ; 
for all power is given me, both in heaven and earth ; and 
go you and teach all nations; disciple them, proselyte 
them to me; gather in the world, lay my claim for me, and 
in my name, to all the world, and tell men every where 
what I am, the Redeemer, and what I have, by my blood, 
the price of that redemption, purchased, even an absolute 
dominion and power over all the world ; I died, and was 
buried, and rose again, that I might become Lord both of 
living and dead. All power hereby is consigned and made 
over to me, and by virtue of that power, i commission 
you : go forth every where, and challenge the world, upon 
that account, to submit to me, their rightful Lord. And 

8ER. VI,) Grounds of Encouragement therein. 107 

herein lies being converted, when the hearts of men are 
brought seriously to do so, to recognize the Redeemer's 
right^ and to make an absolute surrender and resignation 
ot their souls to hiin, and to God through him. Now 
this ministry, and thus attended, is promised to continue 
to the end of the world : " Go and teach all nations, bap- 
tizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost; and lo! 1 am with you always^ even to 
the end of the world." We know very well those particu- 
lar persons were to shut up their time with that age, and 
yet this work was always to go on till the end of time, and 
through all ages: and why should not we expect, who 
come with the same authority and commission, but that 
when we do, in the business of this ministry, apply our- 
selves directly to the consciences of men in the sight of 
God, there should still be some success, even as long as 
this world lasts, and as long as this ministry lasts, why 
should we not always hope? But then, 

2. Supposing there be ground for such an hope, that our 
applying ourselves to the consciences of men, so as to con- 
vince them, may end in conversion, how doth it appear this 
hope is encouraging ? If there be reason for this hope, is 
there any reason to be assigned why this hope should give 
courage, vigour, and liveliness, to those that are employed 
in this work .'' The evidencing that there is, will rest upon 
two things; 1st. that the faithful ministers of Christ do 
very seriously desire the conversion of souls; and, 2dly, 
that the hopefulness of what a man desires cannot but be a 
very enlivening thing to the spirit of any man. Let these 
two be put together, and it evidenceth our present pur- 
pose; that is, that the serious ministers of the gospel do 
desire the conversion of souls, and that the hopefulness of 
any thing that a man desires, must needs be very reviving 
and consolator3' to him. 

1. The former of these doth sufficiently speak itself; and 
I doubt not, in all your consciences, you never knew any 
minister of Christ, whom you had any reason to look upon 
as serious in his work, but you could not but apprehend 
him very much to desire the conversion of souls : for, 

(1.) It is the very end of their office. How can it be but 
we must desire to reach the end for which our very office 
itself is appointed, and for which we were put into it? 

(2.) The desire of the conversion of souls, it is nothing else 
but spiritualized humanity; that is, supposing we do be- 
lieve a future state, or (as the apostle expresseth it in the 


next chapter) do in any measure understand the terrors of 
the Lord, the terrors of the judgment day, which is there 
referred to; " We must all appear before the judgment 
seat of Christ; knowing therefore the terrors of the Lord, 
we persuade men. And herein we are manifest unto God, 
and we trust, also in your consciences." You must suppose 
if we should understand and know any thing of the terrors 
of the Lord, and of a juflgment da}^, that we must desire the 
conversion of souls : you will not look upon as so inhumane 
creatures, that we should have a prospect before our eyes 
of so dreadful a destruction as unconverted souls will cer- 
tainly fall into, and not desire their escape, not desire they 
may fly " from the wrath to come ;" effectually so to fly as 
to escape that wrath. And again, 

(3.) it is a required conformit}' to our blessed Lord, in 
whose name we come to you, whom we find to have been u 
mighty lover of souls. Did not his descent into this world 
testify it? Was not his death upon the cross the most sig- 
nificant ? And is not the remembrance of it a standing testi- 
mony hereof? And how can we bear his name, and sustain 
to be called the ministers of Christ, and not mightily desire 
the conversion of souls? And, 

2. If we do, then the hope of it cannot but be a very en- 
livening and encouraging thing. The hopefulness of what 
a man desires, and hath his heart set upon, carries the most 
invigorating power with it that any thing can be supposed 
to do. For, 

(L)lt is very plain, despair of any design or undertaking, 
damps all endeavours. INo man can rationally endeavour 
that whereof he hath no hope. It sinks a man's spirit to be 
engaged in a work in which, from time to time, he can 
hope to do nothing, as common experience and the reason 
of things do speak. And, 

(2.) On the other hand, it is very plain, that hope is the 
great engine which keeps the world in motion, and at work 
every where : it is the spring of all action all the world over, 
and of every kind whatsover; the intelligent world, I mean. 
No man propounds an end to himself, but the liope of effect- 
ing it is the very thing that sets him and keeps him on work 
through the whole course of that endeavour that is requi- 
site to it. The merchant trades in hope ; yea, and (go to 
the very meanest employment) the ploughman ploughs in 
hope, and sows in hope, that he may be partaker of his 
hope. And sure we are not in our work to deviate from the 
common rules that guide all mankind in every undertaking 

SER. VI.) Groii lids of Encouragement therein. J09 

whatsoever, and that doth influence them throughout that 
undertaking. Why are not we (think you) to plough in hope, 
and sow in liope, that we may he partakers of our hopei' 

Then, these two things heing evident, that it is in the eyes 
of serious ministers of Christ a desirable thing ; and that they 
that do seriously desire it, must needs be ver}^ much encou- 
raged in their design and endeavour of it, when it doth ap- 
pear to them an hopeful thing ; so far as there is hope that 
the conviction that is taking hold of the consciences of men, 
may end in their conversion. Then this apprehension must 
needs contribute a great deal to their not fainting in their 
work, who are in good earnest engaged in it. I might add, 

(2.) That it is an encouraging thing, an heart-strengthen- 
ing tiling, thus to apply ourselves to the very consciences of 
men in the pursuit of this work, that however it will be as 
to the former thing, yet we are sure to gain, in men's con- 
sciences, a testimony for the great God. If conscience be 
but convinced, if we can so far recommend ourselves to the 
consciences of men, as that they come to be convinced, 
this is truth, this is duty, here hes my danger, there lies my 
hope. If men are in their consciences convinced of these 
things, and yet will go on in their destructive ways in the 
paths that lead down to the chambers of death, we have 
gained this, however, that, if they will go on, if they will 
perish, it will be a testimony for God in their own con- 
sciences. And this will be a great thing; for, as it follows 
presently after, in tiieith verse of this chapter, " we preach 
not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your 
servants for Jesus sake." Not ourselves finally, but only 
ourselves your servants for Jesus sake; and therefore his 
interest and his concernment must be greatest and highest 
in our eye: it is to him, tlierefore, we owe the principal de- 
ference and highest honour. And there will be a con- 
vincing testimony for him in your very consciences, whe- 
ther you turn or not turn. If we can but prevail so far, in 
applying to conscience, as to convince it, you will go down 
M'lth conviction into the place of torment, and thereby a tes- 
timony will be gamed for our glorious Lord, that his over- 
tures were all easy^ all reasonable, ail kind, and all indul- 
gent : and this is a great thing we shall have gained, though 
it be but secunda post naufragium tabula. It is a consola- 
tion, though it be a consolation against a sad case, a very 
sad case, that any should descend to perdition, from under 
the gospel, with convinced consciences. 
But no more of this at present. 



2 Corinthians, iv. 2. 

Commenditig ourselves to everij mans conscience m the sight 

of God. 

We have considered the words, according to what they 
import in themselves, and we have it now in hand to 
consider them, according to tliat reference which they 
bear to those of the foregoing verse. " Therefore, seeing 
we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint 
not;" whence we have collected, — That the application 
which the faithful ministers of Christ do make to the 
consciences of men in the sight of God, affords them 
very great relief and encouragement to go on with an 
unfainting vigour and resolution in their work ; and we 
proposed to show that it is so, upon a double account, to 
wit, the convictiveness, and the sincerity of it: the con- 
victiveness of it towards them, and the sincerity of it 
towards God. We have hitherto been shewing you how 
encouraging it is upon the former account, in respect of 
the convictiveness of the thing; and so it is, encoura- 
ging upon a tvv'o-fold more particular account. 

1st. As thereby there is very great hope conceived of 
conversion. And, 

Sdl}'. As hereby a testimony is, however, gained to the 
great God and our Lord Jesus Christ in the very con- 
sciences of men. The former was fully insisted on ; an d 
now 1 go on further, to the second, to wit, Tliat the con- 
victiveness of such application tends to gain a testimony 
to our great God and Saviour in their very souls. And 
this is a very encouraging thing, an heart strengthening 
thing, to a serious faithful minister of Christ, that he shall 
hereby gain such a testimony in men's consciences for 
God and his blessed Son. They will be obliged to ac- 
knowledge and own, that the great truths of the gospel, 
upon which the principal weight and stress is laid, as to 
their salvation, do carry a clear and convictive evidence 
with them; and that they are required to believe nothing 
to this purpose, which is not most evidently true; but 

* Preached March 8, 16U0. 

«ER. vii.) The Means of Conversion. Ill 

must be forced tc say, — T think, in my very conscience, 

these things are so ; tliey are as the}' are represented ; 
1 am not imposed upon ; tliere is no t'ramlulency or arti- 
fice used to disguise things, or to make them seem other- 
wise than they are. And thus it is also with the things 
we are to do, and we are warned to avoid, as by no means 
to be done; and Hkewise, the constitutions and judgments 
we find settled and declared in the gospel concerning them 
that do well, and them that do ill, and that are to be the 
last measures of the final judgment, are all most unex- 
ceptionabl}' equal and righteous ; we have nothing to say 
against them, and so, concerning the whole frame and 
design of the gospel, that it is wisely adapted to its end ; 
that it carries that efficacy with it, when once it takes hold 
of conscience, that men must say. Here is a power not to 
be withstood ; we cannot resist the power and spirit where- 
with such and such things are spoken; things come to 
us in the evidence and demonstration of the Spirit and of 
power; they must say there is kindness and love beyond 
all that could be expected or conceived in the whole frame 
and contrivance of it : here is manifestly a design to pluck 
souls out of death, to leduce backsliders unto God, to save 
lost creatures from perishing; and up(m the whole, there- 
fore, here must be a testimony gained to the truth of God 
to his authority, to the equity and reasonableness of his 
laws and sanctions, to his wonderful wisdom, which he hath 
shewn in methodizing things so as the gospel acquaints 
us, in order to the recovery and salvation of souls ; and to 
his kindness, goodness^ and mercifulness, towards poor 
perishing sinners, beyond all that could have entered into 
the heart of man to expect. It is plain, that when such 
applications are made immediately, directly, and properly 
to conscience, such a testimony is gained to the great God 
and Saviour in all these respects. 

And now it is evident, that this cannot but be an encou- 
raging thing to every serious faithful minister of Christ • 
for you must consider (as they will do) to whom they do 
belong ; they consider whose they are, and whom they are 
obliged to serve: and if these two things be eyed and 
looked upon together ; to wit, that glorious Lord to whom 
they are related, and their most entire devotedness and 
fidelity to him : these two things concurring, cannot but 
make such encouragement as this arise naturally from the 
above-mentioned ground. 

1. It is to be considered, that the Lord, to whom they 


are related, he is infinitely more than all this world ; the 
whole creation is but a tittle, a nothing to him, his honour 
and glory are more worth than all things. If all this 
world, as it was raised up out of nothing, were presently 
to be reduced to nothing again, that is, a thing little to be 
mattered, in comparison, if we bring it into comparison 
with the glory of this great name: which glory will shine 
satisfyingly to itself, even to all eternity, whatsoever 
should become of this created sphere and universal thing; 
consider this in the state of tl)eir case. And then, 

2. That in the temper of their minds, there mu?t be 
entire devotedness and fidelity to this great Lord : and so 
as the glory of his name is a greater thing in itself than 
all things besides, so it must be to them ; because, with 
their relation to this great Lord, there is conjunct that most 
entire affection and devotedness to him, that whatever be- 
comes of all things else, this must always be principal in 
their eye, the glory of the great Lord : you find, therefore, 
that this is the main design they drive at, and are obliged 
to do in all their ministrations ; that is, that there be such 
convictions upon the consciences of men, as from whence 
a glory may result, " a glorious testimony unto God in 
Christ," saith the Apostle, (speaking of his own labours in 
the ministry,)" according to my expectation, and my hope, 
that in nothing I shall be ashamed, (that my heart should 
never sink through shame, nor through fear,) but that, 
with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be 
magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death." 
Phil. iii. 17— £0. If one had said to him. What need you 
toil and harass yourself in such labours, and to run such 
hazards as you do, in a continual course ? What are you 
to gain by it? Gain, saith lie, why I shall gain my point./ 
I shall gain my great design, the only thing 1 am solicitous 
for, and the only thing, in comparison, that 1 aim at ; that 
is, that Christ may be magnified in my body, whether by 
life or by death ; whether I live, or whether 1 die, all is one 
to me ; I am content to run through a thousand dcc^ths 
for the glory of that name;— that that name may be glo- 
rified in my living and dying. Here is a continual glory 
arising to that name out of this application to men's con- 
sciences, when all men, out of conviction of conscience, 
must be forced to own and acknowledge the truth, and 
authority, and righteoiisiu'ss, the power, wisdom, and 
goodness, which are all comprehended in this great name f 

s.];il. vil.) A Te'iiiinuiij/ to Ur,ii. 113 

and therefore, it is, that the ministers of Chri.-it are to make 
this a measure to themselves, in all their ministrations, to 
Hirect ihem to this very end and mark ; that is, the bring- 
ing men under such convictions, that a just testimony mav 
result to this great name, — the name and honour of theiV 
glorious Lord. The Apostle's reasonings do most evi- 
dently imply this, whicli you find he useth in that 14th 
chapter of his former Epistle to these Corinthians, verse 
€4; he is there directing and ordering how they 
should order, manage, and methodize their ministrations, 
so as that they might be most apt to convince ; that they 
should prefer plain instructive words, before strange 
tongues, though that might very much amuse, and gain 
to them (it may be) a great deal of applause, that such and 
such could speak in assemblies so many languages ; but, 
(saith the apostle,) when the business of instruction by pro- 
phecy, (as the word must there be used, and it is frequently, 
when that is attended to,) if there comes in one that is 
unlearned, such an one is convinced of all, and judged of 
all ; and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest, 
and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God, and 
report that God is in you of a truth. This, (saith the apos- 
tle,) I must have all your ministrations directed unto; you 
must aim at this, to carry things so, that the hitherto 
Pagan world, (as they shall have opportunity to observe 
and know what things are taught among you,) from the 
plain evidence of the things, may be judged and condemned 
in their own spirits, and may be brought down on the knee, 
to fall and kneel, and confess God is in the midst of this 
people ; God is in these ministrations of a truth : you must 
order things so, that this end may be effectually obtained, 
observably gaining a testimony to God out of the con- 
sciences of those you shall have lo do with; and if this be 
anyone's end, upon which his heart is set, upon which he 
is principally intent^ according as his success is, in order 
to this, his great and principal end, so will his encourage- 
ment be, and the strength and vigour ol' his spirit in pro- 
secuting his work : according as his labour is either more 
actually successful, or hopeful", accordingly is his spirit 
raised up and kept up within him in his work; and this is 
a tiling which carries its own ] ,>';;er right with it, whether 
it do tall in with the conversion of souls, or whether it be 
severed from it. 

(1.) If it fall in with it, it adds the greater weight to it, 
for the poising and bearing up a roan's spirit in his work ; 
VOL. Yin, 1 


for then this testimony ariseth so much the more clearly, 
and so much the more fully, when it proceeds at once from 
the concurrence of an enlightened mind and convinced 
conscience; and also, a renewed changed hei^rt, when it 
is the sense of the mind, and of the heart, together. Oh, 
how joyful and raised a testimony do convinced and con- 
verted ones bear to the truth, and righteousness, and autho- 
rity, and wisdom, and power, and grace of God in Christ ? 
When hearts are won, with what complacency do they then 
celebrate all the glories that have shone forth to them with 
efficacy and success, through the gospel dispensation ? 
What pleasure do they take to speak highly of his great 
name, whose power they have felt, whose light they have 
seen, whose grace they have tasted of, in and by this dis- 
pensation ? But then, 

(2.) If these should be severed, yet so much the greater 
thing is a testimony to the great God, and his Christ : that 
there is in that case, more to poise and weigh up the spirit 
of a faithful servant of Christ, than there can be in the 
want of the other, to sink and press it down. These two 
things being compared with one another, the glorious 
testimony that is borne to this name, and the actual infe- 
licity of a soul, which hath refused to be happy, and did 
peremptorily choose the way to perdition, that takes bold 
of hell, and leads down to the chambers of death ; so much 
a greater thing is the former of these, than the latter, that 
there is more to buoy up the spirit of a faithful servant of 
Christ in his ministerial work, than there can be to press 
and sink it down. 

And so, upon that former account ; to wit, the convic- 
tivenessof such an application to the conscience, doth very 
great encouragement arise to those that are faithful in their 
work of preaching the gospel, to go on with unfainting 
vigour in it, as this convictive application to conscience, 
both is the way to the conversion of souls ; and also, as it 
tends to gain a testimony to the name of God, and our 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

But then, as we have to consider to this purpose the con- 
victiveness of this application to conscience, so we have to 
consider well in the next place, 

3. The sincerity of such application to conscience : we 
apply and commend ourselves to the consciences of men, 
in the very sight of God, under the eye of God ; he sees 
oiiraim and design, and our whole transaction, from step 

SER. VII.) Rewards its Ministers. 115 

to step, from point to point; there is no thoueljt ia our 
minds, no word in our mouths to this purpose, but comes 
all under his immediate notice and cognizance ; and hence 
ariseth our strength and vigour in our work, hence it ia 
we iaint not; we serve our Lord Christ, we serve the great 
God, to whom we have devoted ourselves under his own 
eye. To the sincere, it is a great consolation their sin- 
cerity is known; one may serve a man in great sincerity, 
and yet never be understood, for he cannot look into the 
thoughts, he cannot discern the intention and bent of the 
heart: but when every thing lies open (as we know it 
doth) to his immediate view, with whom we have to do, 
and for whom we are concerned, this is a very encoura- 
ging thing to the sincere to know that it is known. It es- 
capes not the especial notice of his eye, in whose appro- 
bation and complacency we are most of all concerned ; 
for hereupon, these two most encouraging things do most 
necessarily succeed and follow ; — 1st. That by this, their 
sincerity, they are directly and immediately in a good pos- 
ture towards God, so as to receive the highest encourage- 
ment from him. And, 2dly. They are consequentially, by 
most manifest and directconsequence,in a good state towards 
men; so as at least, from them not to receive any hurtful 
or sinking discouragement : I say, it puts their affairs into 
a good posture towards God, from whom they are to have 
the highest encouragement ; and it puts them consequen- 
tially into so good a posture towards men, as that, from 
thence, they shall receive no hurtful, heart-dejecting, or 
heart-sinking discouragement. As to God, 1st. As to the 
former, the posture and state wherein it puts their affairs 
towards God, is, 1st. They are sure of acceptance. And, 
2dly. They are sure of reward ; be the success of their 
ministration what it will or can be supposed to be, or the 
worst that can be supposed. 

They shall be accepted with God, and shall not lose 
their reward, whatever the issue of their labour be. Some 
scriptures do conjoin these together, or give us good 
ground upon which to apprehend the certain conjunction 
of them, that they are not severed one from another, as 
in the nature of the thing we are sure they cannot be. Do 
but observe to this purpose that known and famous place, 
Isaiah xlix. 5. It is spoken directly and principally of our 
great Lord himself; but it is applicable, in a subordinate 
sense, most justly unto all that do serve under him. In 
the third verse of that chapter, it is said, '^ Thou art mj 

I 2 


tervant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified." And 
verse 4th. ''I have laboured in vain; I have spent my 
strength for nought and in vain." That name of Israel is 
put upon him, as sometimes^ elsewhere, the name of Jacob 
is, as signifying Christ-mystical, and comprehending all 
bis people with him and in him. "Then 1 said, I have 
laboured in vain ; yet, surely my judgment is with the 
Lord, and my work with my God. And now saith the 
Lord, that formed me from the womb to be his servant, 
to bring Jacob to him : Though Israel be not gathered, 
yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my 
God shall be my strength." I shall not stay to dilate (as 
I might with much point) upon this scripture. Again, 
look back to the 2nd chapter of this epistle, where our 
text lies, and you will see, from the 14th verse onward, 
much lo this same purpose. The apostle speaks of the 
pleasant savour which the faithful ministers of Christ do 
carry with them in their ministrations, or in respect to the 
gospel which they dispense, both in reference to them that 
are saved, and in reference to them that perish. " Thanks 
be to God, (saith he,) which always causeth us to triumph 
in Christ, (and tiiey that triumph in Christ are far from 
fainting,) and maketh manifest by us, the savour of his 
knowledge in every place : for we are to God, a sweet 
savour of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that 
perish. To the one, we are the savour of death unto 
death ; and to the other, we are the savour of life unto 
life." It is true that we are so'; a sweet savour of God 
in Christ to the one and the other, or in reference to the 
one and the other. And where there is a certain accep- 
tation, there is a certain reward, which, when our Lord 
himself did eye, we are not disallowed to eye, you may be 
sure; " for the joy that was set before him, he endured the 
cross, despised the shame, and is sat down at the right 
hand oi God." Heb. xii. 3. That great and eminent ser- 
vant of his, Moses, it is recorded of him, not as a ble- 
mish, but to his honour, that he had respect to the recom- 
pence of reward. Heb. xi. 7. And the apostle Paul telJs 
concerning himself, when he avowed himself to he the 
apostle and servant of Jesus Christ, (as in the beginning 
of his epistle to Titus,) he adds, "in hope of eternal life, 
vphich God, who cannot lie, hath promised ;" as if lie would, 
by that answer an inquiry, which (it may be) some, who 
had heard of his name, might wonderingly make. What 
should be the matter that Paul, that wise man, that 

SBR. VII.) Fuiiijies against Fear, 11/* 

learned man, that man so strenuous an assertor of Judaism, 
and so devoted to the strictest sect of" Pharisaism, should 
suffer liimself" to be imposed upon, so as to espouse the 
despised Christian name and interest? He, it seems, is 
become a minister of the gospel of Christ, a servant of him 
that was crucified at Jerusalem not long ago, as a common 
malefactor; how comes such an one as Paul to espouse 
that interest and profess that name? Why, 1 do it, (saith 
he,) " in hopes of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, 
hath promised." Here is enough to keep me from fainting 
and sinking in this work, may a faithful minister of 
Christ say, notwitiistanding whatsoever of labour and toil 
it carries in it; and, notwithstanding whatsoever incon- 
venience il may draw after it; it is all in hope of eternal 
life, which God, that cannot lie, hath promised. And 
they know their Master and Lord that employs them, that 
he who will not suffer so mean a thing as a cup of cold 
water, to a disciple, in the name of a disciple, to lose its 
reward, will never let a devoted life, spent in his service, 
and in an endeavour of serving that great design of his, 
which his heart doth so appear to be always set upon the 
saving of souls, to lose a correspondent reward : therefore, 
such sincerity, in applying to the consciences of men 
in the sight of God, knows who sees it, whojudgeth of it, 
carries in it encouragement enough, directly God-ward, 
and Christ-ward, from whom they are encouraged, and 
principally concerned to expect and seek it. But, 

As to men. 2dly. It carries enough in it by consequence, 
to fortify them against every thing of discouragement 
from men. What is there from men to discourage ? prin- 
cipally two things, reproach and danger. They may be 
liable to reproach, but sincerity is a guard against it. 
** According to my earnest expectation, and my hope," 
(saith the Apostle,) "that in nothing I shall be ashamed." 
Phil. i. 20. And so in the words immediately before the 
text, " W'^e have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty 
or shame, (as the word may be rendered;) not walking in 
craftiness, or handling the word of God deceitfully, but 
by manifestation of the truth commending," &c. And, as in 
the close of the 2nd chapter of this epistle, " We are not as 
many which corrupt the word of God," (aduherate it 
caupoinzeing it,) " but as of sincerity, as of God speak we 
in Christ." We do nothing we need to be ashamed of, as 
long as we do but apply ourselves about such things as 
(L'arry their own evidence in them to the consciences of 

1 3 


men. Our work admits well enough to be done above 
board ; we need seek no corner, no darkness, no shadow 
of death, wherein to lie hid; we may well go open faced 
in all that we do ; we have no other design, but to 
convince men, and bring them back from their destructive 
ways, and finally, become instruments of their being safe 
and happy. 

And then for any thing of danger; it is true, they may 
be liable thereto, even from them whom they do convince : 
convictions do sometimes work that unnatural way, that is, 
to enrage, to exasperate ; we read of some who were 
pricked to the heart, who cried out thereupon, " Men and 
brethren, what shall we do ?" Acts ii. 37. We read of 
others cut to the heart by that sermon of the Erst martyr, 
Stephen. Acts vii. 54. And they, thereupon, in>mcdi- 
ately gnash their teeth ; and their business is to gather up 
stones, and stone him to death. This, it is true," may be, 
and admit it to be so, the sincere desire of his gloiy for 
whom they so expose themselves in their ministration, 
approving itself to his very eye, carries enough in it to 
fortify them against the most formidable appearances of 
this kind. The apostle makes this supposition, even of 
running the hazard of a fiery trial ; when he is exhorting 
them that speak, " To speak as becomes the oracles of 
God." 1 Peter iv. 11. And with this same design, that our 
great Lord, for whom we speak, may be glorified, may 
have a glorious testimony arising to him. " If any man 
speak, let him speak as the oracles of God ; if any man 
minister, let him do it as of the ability that God giveth ; 
that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus 
Christ." And the very next words are, " Beloved, think 
it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is sent to 
try you ;'* never be concerned for yourselves, though there 
be danger of a fiery trial incurred, if you can but be con- 
scious to yourselves of your own sincerity, that you speak 
as becomes the oracles of God, with this design, that God 
and our Lord Jesus may be glorified." And so doth the 
transaction of all this afflair, in the sight of God, carry 
with it a great matter of encouragement ; that is, sincerity 
puts our affairs directly into the best posture that can be 
wished, towards God and Christ ; and leaves them not in 
so ill a posture towards men, as that any thing should be 
feared from them, or can possibly arise from them, to 
cause dejection or despondency of spirit, in any one who 
is with such sincerity engaged in this great work. 

SKR. VII.) An object of great ^o/iciturle. 119 

Use. Therefore, now briilly to apply all: -there are 
sundry things, which it is obvious to collect and gather 
from all that hath been said to this point, that may be very 
useful and instructive to us. As, 

1. That such as are sincerely, and with due seriousness, 
engaged in the work of the ministry, they cannot but be 
solicitous about the issue of their work, how it will suc- 
ceed, what will become of it; they do, (it is true,) through 
the mercy of God, go on in their work without fainting, 
as it is their business to apply themselves to the consciences 
of men, in the sight of God ; but yet, with very great 
concern ; for what do they apply themselves to the con- 
sciences of men about? It is abnut things upon which their 
salvation depends, — it is, that they may not be lost. " If our 
gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." We consider 
them as perishing creatures, if our gospel should be 
hid from them ; therefore, we make it our business 
to apply ourselves to their consciences, in the sight of 
God, that it may not be hid. And hence is our not faint- 
ing ; it shews in those that do seriously concern them- 
selves, and serve Christ in the work of the ministry : there 
is great solicitude about the issue ot" their work, lest 
souls should miscarry and be lost under it. 

2. We may collect, that the true reason of this solicitude 
is the uncertainty of the issue ; they do not know how mat- 
ters will succeed with them about whom they are concerned. 
It may be life, it may be death; it may be they will be 
saved, it may be they will be lost ; some may be the 
one, some may be the other. Seeing that they need sup- 
port against fainting, it shews that they are solicitous, and 
whence their solicitude doth arise, and what is the true 
cause of it ; and though it is true indeed, there is support 
from the consciousness of their own sincerity, and from the 
aptitude of such means as they use, that souls may not be 
lost ; yet, all this while, the dubiousness and uncertainty 
of the event doth so much deject them, and make them 
liable to fainting, that they reckon it a very great mercy 
that they do not faint : " therefore, having such a ministry, 
as we have received mercy, we faint not." It is the mercy 
of God to us that we sink not, nor faint in our work, to 
think how little hold is taken upon the consciences of men, 
and how apt men are to run counter to the conviction of 
their own consciences. It is God's great mercy we do not 
faint, and quite give off, and say, we will never speak in 
this name more, to be so little heard, regarded, attended 

1 4 


to, and complied with in the design of all that we say. 
And again, 

3. We may gather hence, that God hath so graciously 
ordered the matter, that the very cause of a faithful minis- 
ter's solicitude shall yield him the matter of his relief; 
that is, his sincerity, his applying himself to the consciences 
of men in the sight of God. It is a man's sincerity in this 
case, that makes him be concerned, for they that are insin- 
cere, will never be concerned ; they care not what becomes 
of their hearers, if they can but discourse plausibly an hour 
when they must, they are little further concerned. But 
then, (I say,) observe the goodness of God, that from the 
same tiling, whence their concern comes, their relief 
comes; that is, their sincerity; if they were not sincere, 
they would not be concerned : but, because they are sin- 
cere, thereby they are relieved, they transact all in the 
sight of God ; and so, the same thing that gives them trou- 
ble, gives them relief. 

4. We may further gather hence, that where there is 
the least need of relief, there is the least to be had. They 
have no need of relief against any solicitude, and heart- 
afiecting concern, about the issue and success of their 
work, who are not sincere in it; and thereupon they have 
not that relief which otherwise would arise in this case. 
These things do measure one another: where no relief is 
needful, none is had. They need no relief, where there 
is no concern ; and they have none, because they are not 
sincere. And again, 

5. It is plain, that the safety of souls that do attend upon 
the gospel dispensation, and the comfort of their ministers, 
do very much depend upon the same thing ; that is, the 
successfulness of the application to conscience in the sight 
of God. ]f conscience be first convinced, and thos con- 
victions be complied with, and answered in the inclina- 
tion of the heart, and course of the outward practice, such 
souls are safe and happy ; and, according to the prospect 
and appearance that can be had hereof, those who are en- 
gaged in this great design of saving them, are relieved 
and comforted so much abundantly the more; their fullest 
consolation, and the salvation and happiness of the souls 
they are concerned for, meet in the same point. And there- 
fore, again, 

6. If any do miscarry under the gospel, by which, and 
in the ministration whereof, applications are still made to 
their consciences in the sight of God, they perish under a 

SER. VII.) Should loti^c I he Cutisciauc. 121 

double guilt, as having not only been accessiuy to their 
own ruin, but to the discouragement, as much as in them 
lies, of those in their work, tliat were intent upon saving 
them. And this is a double guilt, — guilty of their own 
ruin, and guilty of the sorrow and solicitude, and afflicting 
care and grief, of them that would Ijave saved them. And 
that this consideration doth not weigh nothing, you may 
plainly see, in that such use is made of it, as we find else- 
where. This apostle urgeth the Cliristians, Philipp. ii. 16. 
that they would demean tliemselves, ''as sonsof God without 
rebuke in the midst of ii crooked and perverse generation, 
among whom they lived, and shined as lights in the 
world :" that, as light was, through the word of God in the 
gospel, let into their consciences, it might shine through 
again in their conversations, that they might hold forth 
the word of life ; and why ? upon what design or considera- 
tion ? *' That we may be comforted," that we may rejoice, 
as not having run in vain, or laboured in vain. Whatso- 
ever greater weight there was to be in the consideration of 
their own salvation, and eternal well-being, this considera- 
tion also was not without its weight ; it cannot be said of it, 
that it had no weight. That we may rejoice, too, and re- 
joice with you, in i\\e day of Christ, as not having run in 
vain, or laboured in vain. But, in the last place, 

7. We may further collect, that, if there be a final disap- 
pointment as to any, so that (as the expression is after the 
text) they come at length to be 'Most ;" and here is the utmost 
cause given, that can be given from men, of discourage- 
ment and heart-fainting to the ministers of Christ ; vet all 
doth proceed from men's baffling their consciences: these 
dreadful consequences do result from thence. If men 
would but use their consciences, and be true to their con- 
sciences ; if they would but receive the truth whereof con- 
science is convinced, and comply with the precepts and 
rules that conscience dotli discern the equity and necessity 
of, all would be well ; we should be comforted, and you 
would be saved. But if neitlier of these be, you see whence 
all proceeds; it is from baffling of conscience, from either 
it's not admitting of conviction, or it's not complying with 
conviction that hath been admitted. Therefore, 1 shall 
shut up all with this only double word of counsel ; that is, 

]. That you labour to keep conscience always awake, 
and bring it awake to such attendances upon the dispensa- 
tion of the preaching of the gospel ; labour aforehand to 
pre-engage conscience; tell your souls beforehand, when 


you are to come to such an assembly as this, O my soul, 
thou art going to a place where thy conscience is to be dealt 
withal, and in the sight of God ! there is a great transaction 
to lie between thee and some or other servant of Christ, 
and the wliole business is managed under the divine eye; 
then say to thy conscience, Awake! awake! be in a pre- 
pared posture, in a ready posture: let me not carry con- 
science slumbering, conscience dreaming, conscience in a 
deep sleep, unto such an ordinance, but labour to have it 
awake, in order hereunto : and tiiat it may be so, urge 
upon it those former heads. That you may bring wakeful 
consciences to these holy assemblies, from time to time, 
you are very much concerned to keep them awake all the 
week long: if, from day to day, and from morning to night, 
you will buy and sell without conscience, and eat and drink 
without conscience, and manage your affairs in your fami- 
lies without conscience, then it is likely you will come 
without conscience, or witli a drowsy slumbering con- 
science, on the Lord's day, to the assembly too; you will 
find conscience on those days as you use it on other days. 
And then, 

2. When you are under these holy assemblies, and par- 
ticularly under the ministration of the gospel, labour 
then to keep conscience in actual exercise, endeavour that 
your consciences may go along with all that is said, and 
put them on giving their assent, their actual assent : take 
it from them, that so you may be (as it were) preaching to 
yourselves all the while the minister is preaching to you ; 
that conscience may be preaching over and over again ; that 
there may be an echo within from conscience, repeating the 
very voice of the minister in your own hearts; and if this 
were done, if there were such a conscientious attendance 
upon this holy ministration, with respect to the eye that 
observes you, as well as us, and a design all along driven 
to one and the same purpose, to approve ourselves to that 
eye, we might hope somewhat would come of our having 
the gospel so long continued among us, and of having our 
holy assemblies, with so much freedom to resort unto. 
But if nothing of this be, but still conscience must be kept 
asleep from duty to duty, there is nothing to be said, but 
that hereafter it will awake for torment. 

SER. vni.) J'hf Gos])cl /ridden to lo--f Sou/s. 123 



But if our gospel be hid, it is Iiid to them that are lod. 

Upon what hath been so largely discoursed to you frotn 
the immediately foregoing words, 1 know not how to over- 
look these, that are so immediately and apparently sub- 
joined. Though they have much of terror in then), they 
may have much use, and may be useful (even as they are 
terrible) to promote and iielp our escape from that most ter- 
rible issue of things that they import. The reasonableness 
of their connexion with the foregoing words, is obvious to 
every eye : " We have renounced the hidden things of dis- 
honesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling tlie word 
of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth com- 
mending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of 
God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are 
lost." The reason of the thing speaks itself. If we do in- 
sist upon such matters as do carry in them a convictive 
self-recommending evidence to every man's conscience ; if 
we do directly and immediately apply ourselves to the very 
consciences of men, in all our ministrations; if we endea- 
vour to dravif them into the Divine presence, and manage 
all our transactions with their very consciences, under God's 
immediate eye, and debate matters with their consciences 
before the throne of God ; if this be our way of treating 
with the souls of men, so as that when they do not hear us, 
— will not listen to us, we do arrest them, we do arraign 
them; Come, I must have you into the presence of God, 
and debate the matter with you, under the eye of him that 
made you, and that made me : if this be the course of our 
dealing with souls, and they will not hear, and our gospel 
remains to them yet an hidden thing, it is all one to them, 
as if we had said nothing; if it " be hid, it is hid to them 
that are lost." This is the plain series of the discourse in 
this context. 

And so the import of the words, in themselves, is as plain 

* Pleached March 22, 1690—1)1. 

124 rriE gospel of chhist 

as any other words a man can make use of. This is the 

Doctrine. Thej to whom the gospel of Christ is an hid- 
den gospel, they are lost souls. 

In speaking to this, we are^ Ist^ to open to you the mean- 
ing of the gospel's being hid, the thing supposed here ; and, 
2diy, to shew what is meant by being lost, the thing as- 
serted upon that supposition ; and then to show, 3dly, the 
connexion between ihfe one and the other of these, upon 
which the use of the whole will ensue. 

1. What is meant by the gospel's being hid .^ It may 
besaid to be hidden several ways, according to the several 
ways wherein it may besaid to be revealed. And there is a 
fourfold gradation to be taken notice of in the revealing of 
the gospel, or the things contained in the gospel, unto men, 
as there is a fourfold principle that is herein to be applied 
unto. As, 

(1.) There is the principle of external sense, unto which 
the gospel is first to be brought. " Faith comes by hear- 
ing," (Romans x. 17.) as the apostle tells us. And then, 

(2.) There is the principle of understanding and intellect, 
unto which that hearing is subservient and introductive : 
men are- to hear, tliat they may understand ; and it is a 
plague and doom upon them, when they hear and do not 
understand. And, 

(3.) Tliereis a principle of conscience, which is the mind 
and understanding, as it hath to do with practical matters; 
(as we have formerly told you ;) being to judge concerning 
them, either as things to be done, or as things that have 
been done. And so we judge, either by way of prospect, 
or retrospect : as you have heard, conscience is the princi- 
ple, and as such a principle, it is to be applied unto : so 
much we have lately insisted upon to you. And then, 

(4.) Another principle is the heart; at which the gospel re- 
velation doth finally and terminatively aim. It aims more 
immediately at conscience, but ultimately, and finally, at 
the very heart, as you see afterwards in iliis very context: 
*' in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of 
them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious 
gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into 
them." But how should it shine into them? or what of 
them should it shine into i* The sixth verse tells you, 
" God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness. 

bhiu. viii.) In tahat reipecls Hidde/t. 125 

hath sliined into our hearts to give us the ligiit;" so that 
there are these several steps in the revelation of the gospel, 
or of the things contained in the gospel, unto men. 

1. By tlie external sense, that b}' which that discovery is 
to be transmitted to the mind or understanding. And that 
it may be excluded, and shut out from thence, the god of 
this world is mightily industrious to blind men's minds, that 
the gospel may meet with a stop there; not make its en- 
trance so far. And then, 

2. It is further aimed at to be revealed to men's con- 
sciences, that through the mind it may strike conscience, 
and fasten convictions upon men there, concerning what 
they are to do, or what they are not to do, or what they 
have, or what they have not done, or what they are there- 
upon to expect God to do, or not to do, against them, or 
for them. And then, 

3. Filially, the gospel is to be revealed to the very hearts 
of men. He that hath made the light to shine out of 
darkness, hath shone into our hearts, wherein the design of 
the god of this world is defeated and disappointed ; so that 
the beams of gospel light do strike through, (notwithstand- 
ing all the resistance and opposition he makes in the minds 
and consciences of men,) and, at length penetrating to the 
heart, hath shone into our hearts, to give us the light of the 
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 
And, accordingly, these several ways may the gospel be 
said to be hid. As, 

1. When it is never preached to a people at all; so the 
great things that it contains, and unfolds in itself, they re- 
main a great and continued secret, as they may have done 
long to many a people, and 3'et do to very many. In that 
sense, for several foregoing ages, the gospel had been an 
unrevealed thing, as we are told by the apostle, Romans 
xvi. 25. '^ Now to him that is of power to establish you ac- 
cording to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, 
according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept 
secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, 
and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the 
commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all 
nations for the obedience of faith." That gospel which 
had been so long kept secret, it became then revealed, 
when the preaching of it was set on foot, even in all the 
several nations, by permission, there being no restraint, no 
prohibition, to preach it to any nation; no nation being 
excluded, but a commission given to preach it to all inde- 


finitely ; Unit is, to any, as there should be oj)portunity. 
ISow, it is said to be, in that sense, an hidden gospel, the 
same thing that we have elsewhere : " The mystery which 
hath been liid from ages and generations, but is now made 
manifest to the saints ; to wliom God would make known 
what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among tlie 
Gentiles, (Colossians i. 26) which is Christ in you, (or 
among you,) the hope of glory." That is one sense wherein 
the gospel is an hidden gospel. Where it is not so much 
as preached, nor hath been; where the external dispensa- 
tion of it hath never come, there hath been no application 
made to men's external sense by it, or concerning it. This 
is not the direct intendment of the apostle here; he speaks 
to them whom he supposeth to have had the gospel hitherto, 
and at this time to have it. We are, in the gospel dispensa- 
tion, actually applying ourselves to the consciences of men 
in the sight of God, and yet he suppos^eth the gospel to be 
hid. It is not hidden, therefore, in that sense ; or its being 
so hid, that is here meant. 

2. It may be hid when it is (though preached) not under- 
stood: and though it be revealed to the external sense, it 
is nut revealed to the minds of men : and so, thougli there 
be an external light, there still needs an internal one, to 
make it, in the useful and designed sense, a revealed gos- 
pel. So it often is, that men may sit very long underneath 
the dispensation of this gospel, and yet remain very igno- 
rant of the true import and meaning, even of the most prin- 
cipal and noble part of it, and which it is of the greatest 
concern for them to understand. The frame and scheme of 
gospel truth and notions, it may have found no place in 
tlie minds of many that have long sat under the dispensa- 
tion of it. They may have been yet ignorant (as the apos- 
tle speaks to those Christian Hebrews) which be the first 
principles of the oracles of God, though they had the gos- 
pel long vvitii them, whose design it is to acquaint them 
with, and instruct them in, these things. They may be 
such as the apostle elsewhere speaks of, as are ever learn- 
ing, and never come to the knowledge of the truth. And 
though they have this gospel among them, — they have this 
book in their hands, yet it is a sealed book, and they liave 
never concerned themselves to get it unsealed: they read 
it, and yet it is sealed; they open it, and yet it is shut; 
really shut up. li' one say to them, Understandeth thou 
what thou readest ? they do not. They hear the word as 
a tale that is told, that passeth through their ears, but en- 

SER. vm.) In what reapects Hidden. 127 

ters not into their minds; so may things be said to be hid 
tliat get not so far ; they pass not the tegument or involu- 
crum of a dark mind, a blind mind that admits them not. 
The expression is of that import, in reference to a particu- 
lar tiling, that our Saviour had been discoursing of to his 
disciples often, when he was among them. It is said, that 
the saying did not enter into their minds, for it was hid 
from tlieni : " They understood not this saying, and it was 
hidden from them, that they perceived it not." Luke ix. 45. 
The business was what he had foretold them of a2;ain and 
again, touching his own approaching sufferings : it met 
with obstructed minds; they could not endure to hear with 
that ear. There was the same sense latent with them all, 
which Peter was more alert and open in owning antl speak- 
ing: " Master, favour thyself, these things shall not be 
unto thee." They who had so high an expectation of his 
temporal reign and kingdom, such a thing as this, though 
he had told it them over and over, and told them again, in 
this chapter, upon his transfiguration, or a little after, that 
such and such things he must suffer, such and such things 
should be done to him, it entered not into their minds, 
they perceived it not, it passed as water glides over a rock, 
that admits it not. And so it is with the greatest and most 
important truths of the gospel that can be spoken about, 
that can be brought under their notice. Commonly they 
do give them the hearing when they come to such assem- 
blies : they hear of the lost undone state of sinners, as they 
are such, and that there is reconciliation to be had by a 
Redeemer; but that Redeemer must and will have the 
throne; have their hearts clianged, and their natures re- 
newed. God's kingdom must be set up in their souls, and 
in its power take place in them ; and sensual lusts and in- 
clinations must go down, be subdued, and brought under. 
Men hear such things, but they do not enter into their 
minds, they will not allow them to sink into their minds; 
and so they hear them as if they heard them not. It can- 
not be said, they were never told them, that they never 
heard them. The first passage towards the heart, the ear, 
there the word goes through ; but at the mind, there, with 
many it stops. They do not, that is, they will not, bend 
their minds and understandings to take in so plain and so 
important things. And, 

3. The gospel, it may be hid from conscience; so, as 
though it do enter into the mind, there it meets with ano- 
ther obstruction ; conscience excludes and shuts it out. 

128 Tllli GOSPEL OF CllRJST 

Many will not allow themselves so much as to understand 
auj thing of it; as man}', too, will not allow themselves 
so much as to hear it, — keep quiie out of the hearing: but 
if it be heard, and if it be vinderstood, yet here, at this 
third passage, which it should have to the heart, it meets 
with obstruction ; that is, conscience doth not admit of 
conviction about it, a conviction of what is to be done, or 
what hath been misdone, or unduly omitieil to be done, 
and what is due hereu[)on in point of vindication of the 
jealous holy God. In this respect, the gospel may still be 
an unrevealed gospel; that is, tliat it dotli not get into the 
consciences of men, so as to strike them with conviction 
about these things, and to make them see and determine, 
and pronounce a Judgment within themselves: This and 
that, and the other thing, an holy righteous God hath re- 
quired me to do, that I might live, is all equal, and righ- 
teous, and good. It is so far an unrevealed gospel to them, 
that men will not be brought to see this, though it be never 
so plain; or again, to see that what I ought to have done, 
in order to my being in a reconciled state, and a safe and 
happy state, towards God, I have hitherto not done. [ 
have not exercised repentance towards God ; 1 have not 
believed on the Son of God ; I have not come to a cove- 
nant closure with God in Christ; one thing or other, from 
day to day, hath shifted these important matters off: 
though 1 have heard, indeed, such and such things should 
be done, yet so much of life-time is worn awa^^ with me, 
^nd I could never find the hour, the leisure time, when to 
get into a corner, to enter into my closet, and shut myself 
up with God, and say, I am now come to thee about the 
affairs of my soul ; to make over a soul unto thee, accord- 
ing to the tenor of thine own covenant, and there solemnly 
to take hold of that covenant, and give up that soul. 
" They gave themselves to the Lord, and unto us by the 
will of God " 2 Cor. viii. So plain a thing as this is, the 
yielding (hrmselves unto God, conscience will not see it, 
and be convinced, that thus it ought to be; but days, and 
months, and years, are worn out under the gospel, and so 
great things as tlicse omitted. Men are continually called 
upon to turn, that they may live; but they never find a 
time to turn. They will not settle this judgment with a con- 
vinced conscience, I must break off this course, or I am 
undone; that is, a course of estrangement from God, a 
living without God in the world. The gospel is, in this 
sense, a hid and unrevealed gospel ; it doth not go so far 

SER. viii,) hi what respects Hidden. 189 

as to take hold of conscieQce, though conscience is applied 
and appealed unto, froni lime to time. And then, 

4. It is hid from their hearts, and that is another sense 
wherein the gospel may be an unrevealed gospel, as it is 
not yet effectually discovered ; or the great things con- 
tained in it, are not with a penetrating light pierced into 
the heart, which is the thing the gospel dispensation doth 
finally aim at. As you have it in this very context, the 
thing designed is, that through the ear, and through the 
mind, and through the conscience, the heart may be at last 
invaded, and the light of the gospel may seat itself there, 
in that very centre of the soul, and so there become vital 
light, diliusive of power, and influence through the whole 
man : and this is yet an heavier case, when conscience is 
convinced, and yet the hearts of men are not struck, not 
struck through ; the word doth not strike into them, as 
our Saviour said to the Jews : " My word hath no place in 
you:" you do not give it a place, it cannot find room; 
there is a resisting heart, that excludes and shuts it out. 

It is in these latter senses that the gospel must be under- 
stood to be spoken of as an hidden gospel here, as the mind 
understands it not, or as the conscience is not convinced of 
it, or as the heart doth not entertain or give reception to it. 
You find, in the foregoing chapter, that the case of the 
Jews being spoken unto, upon the occasion of that compa- 
rison, which the apostle had been making, in the whole of 
that chapter, between the Mosaical or Judaical, (2 Cor. iii.) 
and the evangelical dispensation, he gives the preference 
(as there was cause) to the evangelical dispensation, far 
above the Mosaical and Judaical, in this respect, that there 
was a clearness which went with the gospel dispensation, 
which did not accompany the Mosaical one ; and, like- 
wise, that there was a power and efficacy that went with 
the gospel, that went not with the law. Towards the latter 
end of the foregoing chapter, he discourseth to them, that, 
in opposition to the former dispensation, there was a clear- 
ness of light in the latter dispensation. Whenever the law 
was read among the Jews, it was a veiled thing: he refers 
to that which is an usage among them, at this day, when 
the law fs read, to liave a veil covering them, as 1 have 
seen, (and it is like many of you have seen,) looking into 
their synagogues : but the apostle, you see, speaks there of 
the veil on the heart; which, as the former doth import 
opposition to the clearness and perspicuity of light, that 
did shine in the gospel dispensation, this speaks somewhat 

VOL. Yin. K 


opposite to that efficacy and power upon the hearty which 
did accompany that dispensation too ; so as tliat souls 
should be transformed and changed by it, into the image 
and glory of it. " We all with open face, beholding, as in 
a glass ;" so we read it, and we read it with disadvantage, 
considering the similitude that he had made use of before: 
for the word we read open, signifies unveiled, he having 
been, a little while before, speaking of the veil. **" We all, 
with unveiled face, (so it should be, to make the matter 
clearer, though the sense be the same,) beliold, as in a glass, 
the glory of the Lord :" but, for that poor people, they had 
a veil not only upon their faces, but a veil upon their hearts, 
so as that nothing should enter there. But when it shall 
turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away : when it 
shall, the expression is impersonal ; when there shall be a 
turning to the Lord ; when the season of the general turn- 
ing of that people to the Lord shall be, the veil shall be 
done away. And now we, for the present, with unveiled 
face, behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, and are 
changed into the same image. And when the gospel is 
hid in this sense, it is a very dismal thing; that is, that it 
should go through the ear, and through the mind, and 
through the conscience, and, after ail this, stop at the very 
heart. A veil enwrapping the heart, shuts it up : light 
shines, shines round about in the external dispensation, 
shines into the mind, things are competently understood; 
shines into the conscience, and that is convinced that those 
things are true and right which the gospel doth hold forth ; 
and my practice, in reference thereunto, hath been wrong, 
injurious, altogether inexcusable, and, consequently, un- 
safe : and yet the heart holds out ; this last fort yet surren- 
ders not, is not taken ; the glory of the gospel is not 
revealed there, doth not shine into the heart, so as there 
to take in the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; as 
the 6th verse of this chapter speaks. 

You may be sure, if there be a revelation in the last sense, 
there is( a revelation in all the foregoing senses. If the gos- 
pel be thus revealed in the very heart, then we may be 
sure it was in the conscience, it was so in the mind and un- 
derstanding, and it hath been so in the external discovery 
and dispensation of the gospel to the ear and outward sense. 
But if it hath not been revealed in the first of these senses, 
it is in none of the rest. If you speak by way of affirma- 
tion, the affirmation of the last implies tlie affirmation of 
all the former; if you speak by way of negation, the nega- 

SER. viii.) /w what respects Hidden. 131 

tioii of the first implies the negation of all the conse- 

But as was told you at first, on this occasion^ that it is 
not the hiddenness of the gospel, in the first sense, as hav- 
ing never been heard and preached, that is intended 
here; but in the latter sense it is chiefly meant; that is, 
if persons who hear this gospel, never understanding it; or, 
understand it, but are never convinced of it; or are con- 
vinced of it, and their hearts are never altered, never 
effectually changed by it, — then is the gospel an hidden 
gospel to them in the sense here meant. 

And so the hiddenness of the gospel, in the intended 
sense, may be two-fold ; or may be considered under two 
distinct notions, either as sinful, or as penal, 

1. As sinful. And in the first sense, (which I have told 
you is not meant,) ordinarily, tlie gospel cannot be said to 
be hid in a sinful sense. Tliose that live in the remotest 
parts and quarters of the world, it is not their sin ihat they 
have not the gospel, wliile there was no means or oppor- 
tunities of their ever having it ; nor will it be charged upon 
them, where there was a simple impossibility of coming 
by that knowledge, which the gospel contains, or is the 
means of; it will never be imputed as their sin, that they 
had it not. As it is said in reference to the law, (and in- 
deed, by the law there is meant the whole revelation of 
the mind and will of God ;) ^' They that sin without the 
law, shall be judged without the law ; and so, they that 
have sinned without the gospel, siiall be judged without 
the gospel; they that have sinned with the law, shall be 
judged by the law; and they that have sinned against the 
gospel, shall be judged by the gospel." Law is there taken 
in that sense, for that revelation of the mind of God, which 
is superadded to natural light ; " They that have sinned 
without this, shall be judged without this; and they that 
have sinned under it or against it, shall be judged by it." 
There will be no excuse to them from punishment, if they 
have violated and resisted that law and light which they 
had; if they go about to exxuse themselves, any of them 
that way, 1 had not an express written law ; when you 
sinned without law, you shall suffer without law. It will 
be but a like case with that of the soldiers' excuse to the 
commander, Pericles, the Athenian General, when he 
charged him with a fault, and asked him how he came to 

K 2 


do it, invitus feci, invUus ergo panas dabis. " I did it unwil- 
lingly," and you shall, thereioie, suffer un^viiiintrly. 

But [he great iniquity is, or then is the gospel hid in a 
sinful sense, when luen have it among them, or may have 
it, and will not hear it ; or do hear it, and never understand 
it; that is, never apply or set themselves to understand it; 
or receive no conviction from it, or receive no suitable 
impression cm their hearts from it. Tlius, all the while, 
is the gospel hid to them by their own iniquity, that they 
do voluntarily make resisting efforts against it, as every 
thing of sin must have somewhat of voluntariam in it; it 
supposeth, that otherwise, a brute agent might be as capa- 
ble of sin as a rational one, and that cannot be. But here 
lies the iniquity, that men might understand, and they 
will not; might consider and be convinced, and tiiey will 
not; and there is a natural faculty that should turn them, 
even in their very hearts, but there is a sinful disinclination, 
and they will not turn : for it is the will that is not turned ; 
" You will not come to me that you might have life." And 
so, when the gospel is hid^ it is hid, not because men 
cannot see, but because they will not; they do (as it were) 
pretend the veil ; stretch forth the veil before their eyes, 
or bind it close over their own eyes, hoodwink themselves 
that they will not see. 

As the case is stated by the apostle; " Alienated from the 
life of God, tiirough the ignorance that is in them ; and 
because of tlie blindness of their hearts, through the igno- 
rance tliat is in them."' Ephes. iv. 18. But what kind of 
ignorance is that? See how it is paraphrased, — it is a 
blindness of heart, — it is a blindness, because they will 
not see, a voluntary affected blindness : and this makes 
the hiddenness of the gospel to be so in a sinful sense, 
for here is voluntarium in the case ; the same thing that we 
find spoken in reference to natural light in the pagan 
world ; that is, that there was that which might be known 
of God among them, it was manifest in them, for God 
had revealed it to them, or among them, as the particle 
there used may signify : but they liked not to retain God 
in their knowledge. Rom. i. 20—28. As it there follows ; 
" That knowledge was ungrateful to them, and an unwel- 
come thing to them ; and, therefore, they fence against it, 
and exclude it from among them, what they can, as a man, 
would keep off fire from his bosom ; such was the light of 

SER. viii.) In zihat respects Hidden. 133 

God which shone to them ; " Light shiiieth in darkness, 
but the darkness will not coinprelieiid it." John iii. 19. 
The minds of" men do fortify themselves against this light, 
as much as in them is : so in reference to gospel light too, 
" This is the condemnation, that light is come into the 
world." John iii. 19- Here was supervening light, acces- 
sary light, come into the world ; " But men loved dark- 
ness, rather than light, because their deeds were evil." 
And so the gospel is an hidden thing to them, because they 
do exclude it, even to the very uttermost ; stop it where 
they can stop it, either by not understanding it, or not 
considering it, or by not admitting conviction about it, or 
by not obeying from the heart. And then, 

2. Being thus far sinfully hidden, it comes also to be 
penally hidden by a nemesis, hidden by a just vindicta ; ye 
will not understand, then ye siiall not understand ; you 
will harden your hearts against light, against grace, and 
iigainst the design of the' gospel, and they shall be har- 
dened; that is, God doth only say, '^ I will let you have 
your own design :" he doth harden, no7i pertirudo Malhi- 
imniy scd noii impertiendo gratiam ; as Austin's apt speech 
was of old, to that sense; you do make it your business lo 
harden your hearts, and fence and fortify them against 
the light and grace of the gospel ; and since you will 
have it so, so let it be. So long (it may be) a contest hath 
been driven on with such souls; but at last, God sees fit 
to recede, to retire, to give off; now you have conquered, 
enjoy your victory : these are victories, that undo men, 
that tend to their ruin. We are never to suppose, that 
the doom passeth before the desert, such a doom as that es- 
pecially ; " Let them that be filthy, be filthy still ; they that 
are unjust, be unjust still." Rev. xxii. " And when 1 would 
have purged you, and you would not be purged, your 
iniquity shall not be purged from you till you die." Ezekiel. 
But when that hath been persisted in long and highly, as 
the case was, in reference to the old world, it comes to this 
at last, "My spirit shall not always strive with men." 
Gen. vi. 3. God did contend long, even by his Spirit, 
against the wickedness of an apostate world, till at length, 
a delude and flood comes; and a little before that, the 
determination goes forth ; '' My Spirit shall no longer strive 
with man :" I see men are intent upon perishing, they will 
be lost, let them be lost : I have been striving with them so 
long, and they will iiave'that course that ends in perishing ; 

K 3 


my Spirit shall give them obstruction in their way no lon- 
ger." And this was the determination, at length, in refer- 
ence to that people of the Jews, that peculiar people that 
he singled out from the rest of the world ; he bore their 
manners long, he contended with them long, while they 
always resisted the Holy Ghost; (as Stephen tells them;) 
*' As your fathers did^ so do ye." Acts vii. 51. Implying 
this to he, with that people, an intailed war upon their 
posterity, with the Spirit of God : you do but keep up a 
war against the Divine Spirit from age to age, as your fathers 
did before you; " They rebelled, and vexed his Holy 
Spirit, till he turns and fights against them, and becomes 
their enemy." Isaiah Ixiii. 9. But what did things come 
to in this contest, between the Spirit of God, and the 
fathers of this people, to whom Stephen speaks ? Why, in 
reference to them, it comes at last to that terrible doom, 
which we have in the 6th chapter of Isaiah, and 10th verse. 
All that goes before in that chapter, is nothing else but 
a terrible preparation for that awful solemnity, of pro- 
nouncing this doom. Here is a glorious appearance of the 
great God in the temple, in the very year of King Uzziah's 
death, of which you may read in the known story ; " 1 
saw" (saith the Prophet) '^ the Lord sitting upon a throne, 
high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple; above 
it stood the seraphims, each of them had six wings ; with 
twain he covered his face, with twain he covered his feet, 
and with twain he did fly." One of these seraphims cry- 
ing to another, *' Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, 
the whole earth is full of thy glory." Here is a most mag- 
nificent, splendid, and glorious appearance ; And what was 
itfor? What was the design of it? The prophet is called 
forth, he is astonished at the sight, and cries out, " Woe 
is me, I am undone, I am a man of unclean lips, for mine 
eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." Well, he is 
fortified, being almost sunk in his spirits upon the terrible 
majestic glory of this appearanae. One of the seraphims 
flies to him, with a live coal in his hand, lays it on his 
mouth, toucheth his lips, tells him his iniquity is purged 
away. Well, what is after all this ? Now, saith God, '*Thou 
art thus prepared, I have a message for thee to go upon." 
And what is that? Why, saith he, " Go and tell this peo- 
ple, hear ye indeed, but understand not ; see ye indeed, 
but perceive not; make the heart of this people fat, and 
their ear heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with 

SER. viH,) In what respects Hidden. 135 

their eyes, and hear with their e;irs, and understand with 
their hearts, and be converted and be healed." This is the 
design of this glorious appearance, and tliis solemn mes- 
sage, after this august manner; a thing, that might even 
shake the foundation of heaven and earth, to have the case 
represented and in view, as really it was : and you find that 
this very thing, this passage in this chapter, it is with the 
greatest awfulness imaginable, reiterated again and again 
in the New Testament: several times by our Saviour, and 
at length by theApostlePaul,when finally testifying at Rome 
against that more perverse infidelity of this people, than 
ever he met with among Pagans ; as indeed, it was always 
observable of them, they were more high, and haughty, and 
peremptory, and malicious, in their unbelief. Some, in- 
deed, (when the apostle had convened them together at his 
dwelling house in Rome,) believed the things that were 
spoken, and some believed not. " And when they agreed 
not among themselves, they departed." (Acts xxviii. 25, 
£6,27.) After the apostle had spoken our word ; and it is this 
terrible word repeated and recollected ; '* Well spake the 
Holy Ghost, by Isaiah the Prophet, to our fathers; Go 
unto this people, and say. Hear ye indeed, but understand 
not, and see ye indeed, but perceive not ; for the heart of 
this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, 
and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with 
their eyes, and understand with their hearts, and they 
should be converted, and I should heal them." This the 
matter may come to, conversion and healing ; and 1 am 
speaking to you, to represent it to you, that it may come to 
this, on purpose to prevent (if God will) the other ever 
doing so; and if it be considered seriously, and taken to 
heart, as the importance of such a case doth require; it will 
never come to this sad issue among you. If there be none 
of you that do bend your minds, and fortify your consci- 
ences, and obdure your own hearts against the truth, and 
against the grace, and against the gospel of our Lord, 
things will have a better issue with you ; they shall issue 
in things " that accompany salvation, though I thus speak." 
Heb. vi. 9. 

K 4 




\But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. 

We have shewn (and the matter is in itself" ^plain) how 
these words relate to those that go before ; that, in as 
much as it is the design of the faithful ministers of Christ, 
in the course of their ministry, to commend themselves 
to the consciences of men in the sight of God ; and that 
the great things that they deal with men about, are there- 
fore supposed to be such as do carry in them a self-recom- 
mending evidence to men's consciences, as you have heard 
they do ; that in this state of the case, things being thus, 
if yet the gospel do remain an hidden gospel, those to 
whom it is so, must be lost souls ; and that is it, which is- 
with us the ground of discourse from these words, to wit. 

Doctrine. That the gospel being hid to them, who con- 
tinually live under it, is a very sad token of their being 
lost ; it was propounded in speaking of this to open to 

1. In what sense the gospel may be said, and is here 
meant to be hid. 

2. To shew what this being lost must mean. 

3. What connexion there is between these two, — The 
gospel being hid to any, and their being lost. And then 
the use will ensue. 

The first we have shewed already, what is meant hereby, 
the gospel's being hid. We are now next to shew you. 

2. What this being lost doth signify. In general, it is 
not an external or temporal ruin that is here spoken of, 
but a spiritual and eternal one : it is the soul's being lost, 
and lost for ever, which is manifestly the thing here 
meant; that being lost, which doth certainly ensue upon 
blindness of mind, infidelity, and exclusion of the light of 
the glorious gospel of Christ, as the following words shew ; 
and which, therefore, shews that it must be a spiritually 
.eternal ruin that is here meant. But that being the meaning 

• Preached, March 20, 1691. 

SER. IX.) Hon- Men are lost. 137 

in the general, we must know that men may be lost two 
ways ; that is either actually, as it is with them who are al- 
ready in hell, on whom the internal pit hath already shut 
its mouth ; or else as they are liable and tending to such a 
ruin. And it must be in this latter sense that they are spo- 
ken of as lost here, to whom the gospel is an hidden gospel. 
It is spoken for the warning of survivors, and to make such 
look about them that do as yet live fruitless lives, and are 
unimpressed under the gospel, which in the name of the 
eternal God is from time to time preached to them. And 
nothing is more ordinary, either in scripture or in common 
speech, than to speak of men as lost who are in visible ten- 
dency unto destruction, though they are not yet actually 
destroyed. Now for this liableness to be lost, or this ten- 
dency to destruction that is here manifestly meant, and in 
respect whereof those here spoken of may be said to be 
lost ; that may again be twofold : that is, either it may lie 
such a liableness to destruction as is common to the apos- 
tate children of men as such : or else that liableness to de- 
struction which is special with some more than others, or 
as having somewhat peculiar in it which renders their case 
worse than the common case. In the former sense all the 
apostate world is spoken of as lost ; all the apostate world 
that remains yet unreconciled, unconverted; ^' The Son of 
Man came to seek and save that which is lost." Matthew 
xviii. II. Every unconverted sinner is in this sense a lost 
creature. And so indeed they may be said to be all lost; Luke 
xix. 10. the whole apostate world yet continuing in their 
apostacy; upon a double account, 1st. In wickedness ; and 
2nd. Under wrath. 

1st. In wickedness. So all unconverted sinners are lost 
creatures, lost in sin; nothing is indeed more ordinary than 
to speak of a wicked person (even as he is such) under the 
notion of a lost person. Even among pagans themselves, 
of a very wicked man, a debauched person, they say he is 
perdite tiequam, and that he is a man perdidissimus mori- 
bus; a flagitious person is a lost person, and the word that 
is commonly used in the Greek in profane authors (as you 
have it used again and again in Scripture too, Jsotos and 
Asolia) signifies one that is lost, or one that is unsaved, or 
cannot be saved. So all the ungodly world is lost in sin and 
wickedness; which sin is death began, being in its prevailing 
power over them, they, being under the dominion of it, are 
dead. '* To be carnally minded is death," that is, to be 


under the dominion of a carnal mind is death ; he is a dead 
man, he is a lost man that is under the dominion of a mind 
habitually carnal, not capable of savouring divine things, 
the things of the Spirit. Rom. viii. 5, 6. " You hath he 
quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." Eph. ii. 
1. who were dead, lost in death. Death hatha present and 
actual dominion over all this apostate and unreconciled 
world; reigns over it in conjunction with sin. That is not 
to be understood barely of iiableness to natural death, that 
is a low diminishing sense of that reign of death spoken of 
Rom. V. The restitution of that life is meant which was 
lost in Adam's transgression, by which not only did men 
become not only mortal but sinful : not only mortal as to 
their bodies, but sinful (and so under death) as to their 
souls ; which Was also the plain meaning of their being all 
dead; " The love of Christ constrains us, because we thus 
judge, that if Christ died for all, then we were all dead." 
2 Cor. V. 14. An universal death stretching its wings 
over all this world, and covering it with a deadly shade every 
where; and all were alienated from the life of God, destitute 
and forsaken of the divine, the vital presence; God departed 
and withdrawn and gone, as he is from this apostate world 
yet unreconciled : and so are all said to be lost in wicked- 
ness, perdite nequam, as the common phrase is. 

£dly. All were lost in wrath too, or under wrath ; " The 
wrath of God being revealed from heaven against all un- 
godliness and unrighteousness of men," Rom. i. 17. who 
hold the truth in unrighteousness, as men universally do. 
And so, in this double respect, men being generally said to be 
lost; lost in sin, and lost under divine wrath; the phrase of 
their being lost is so applicable to them as the like phrase 
would be to any man in this case, supposing these two 
things to concur in the particular case of any man ; 1st. 
That he is a person dreadfully diseased, that some mortal 
disease is upon him that is likely to be the end of him very 
soon; and ^nd. That he is an offending crinunal besides, 
that he hath fallen under the sentence of the law that con- 
demns him to die. When these things concur in any par- 
ticular person's case, that is, he is a most dangerously dis- 
eased person, hath a mortal disease upon him, and that he 
is under a sentence and doom to die at the same time ; who 
would not say the man were lost? It is a great question 
whether his disease or the halter will dispatch him soonest. 
But he is lost the one way or the other : so it is with the 

SER. IX.) How Men ure lost. 139 

apostate world; tliey are lost in sin; this is their disease 
which carries death in it. "To be carnalJy minded is death •" 
these men carry their own death about them wherever 
they go: and then they are under a doom besides; that is, 
all the impenitent unbelieving world lie under a doom, un- 
der a sentence. '^ Tliere is no condemnation to them that 
are in Christ Jesus, wiio walk not after the flesh, but after 
the Spirit." Rom. viii. 1. What doth this imply, but 
that there is condemnation to all the rest, only those are 
excepted from condemnation who are in Christ, vvall<in"- 
not after the flesh but after the Spirit? all the rest then are 
condemned men, dead men, all lost ^. This is one notion 
wherein those not actually destroyed, or on whom the infer- 
nal pit hath not already shut its mouth, may yet be said to 
be lost, as being liable to be lost, and as in a visible mani- 
fest tendenc}' to destruction, that being continually im- 
pendent and approaching. But then. 

Besides this common case wherein men may be thus 
said to be lost, there is somewhat special in the case of 
some that renders their case far worse than the common 
case ; so as that if all may (in the forementioned respects, till 
redeeming mercy have taken place in reference to them) be 
said to be lost, they much more, as having somewhat in 
their case much more dismal, much more frightful than is or 
can be in the common case of unreconciled sinners merely 
as such. You would think the case to be very dismal of 
Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by vindictive flames that 
caught hold of them from heaven : hell rained down upon 
them (as it were) out of heaven, fire and brimstone and an 
horrible tempest. Yet our Lord tells us of some whose 
case was much more dismal than that of Sodom and Gomor- 
rah; some that were under his own preaching, under his 
own ministry, from day to day he was preaching grace and 
life among them in that gospel which was designed the 
savour of life unto souls. Many that heard it were sur- 
prised and admired, " wondering at the gracious words 
that proceeded out of his mouth." Luke iv. And yet even 
among these, there were some whose case was worse by far, 
and more dreadful than that of Sodom and Gomorrah ; and 
it is easy to apprehend in general wherein. I shall not 
descend to particulars now, but reserve that to a further 
place afterwards in our discourse. It is very evident that 
among those that are lost in the sense and intendment that 
hath been mentioned ; that is, as being liable to perish, and 
and whose destruction is approaching and impending ; 


among these some are yet, though lost, recoverabJy Jost, 
others are irrecoverably, of the coiniiion case of the apostate 
world as such; though it be said of them they are all lost, 
yet they are recoverably lost; that is, if you consider no 
more than the common case as such ; for tiiere are proper 
apt means appointed for recovery and salvation which may 
probably have their effect upon them, their blessed effect, 
to recover and save them. Aiui though there be degrees, 
very different degrees of danger, some may be more in 
danger, some are less so; yet the case admits of very vast 
difference when the gospel first comes among a people, and 
when it hath long continued among them. 

(1.) When it first comes among them, here are the proper 
apt means set on foot for the saving that wiiich was lost : 
the Redeemer approacheth them, makes his first trial upon 
them: Have you a mind to be saved, have you a mind to 
accept of a Saviour, of a Redeemer, to put 3'ourselves un- 
der his shelter, and under his government, which you must 
,do at the same time? Here are hopeful appearances in these 
men's cases It is true the Redeemer comes to them as a 
company of lost creatures ; but he comes on purpose to pro- 
pose to them the certain means and methods of their being 
saved. And you that now have a mind to fall in with the 
Redeemer, you may have him; you must then take him to 
be yours, and give up yourselves to be his : and if this 
agreement on your part be cordial and vital, and you are 
in good earnest in it, you are safe in the midst of danger; 
yea, though you live in surrounding deaths that do ingulf 
and are ready to swallow up, and are sure to swallow up 
all that do not so. But consider here, 

(S.) That a people among whom the gospel hath long 
continued, and it may be with happy success as to many, 
many have been gathered in ; but there are also such as yet 
stand out: they have heard the words of grace sounding in 
their ears often, which have sounded to them like a tale 
that is told. All that hath been said to them of the Son of 
God's having come down into this world to die a reconcilino- 
sacrifice for lost sinners, that he might bring about union 
and peace and friendship between the offended Miijesty of 
heaven and them, hatli made no more impression on them 
than so many breaths of air would do upon a rock. Sure 
the case is far worse with these men than the common case 
of sinners, as such, can be supposed to be. There may be 
even of these yet some whose case is not altogether desperate; 
we do not know wliat wonders the power of grace may yet 

SER. IX.) How Men are lost. 141 

work, but ihcie; may be among those some also that are 
lost irrecoverably, upon wiiom an itrcvi.'cable (U^oin is past; 
so as tliat repentance is hid on boili sides, both from God's 
eye and thehs ; they will never repent, and he will never 
repent: they have an heart that am never repent, and God 
haih passed his doom that he will never repent. And now as 
touching this case, that such a case there is, plain Scrip- 
tures put us out of all doubt; sonie thai are never to be for- 
given in this world, nor in the world to cone. 1 need not tell 
you for what crime. " All sin and blasphemy shall be for- 
given to men, excepting that one, the blasphemy against 
the Holy Ghost, which shall never be foi'given in this world, 
nor in the world to come." Matt. xii. 31. But I say as to 
their case, who may be thus said to be irrecoveraby lost, 
while they yet are on this side hell, whether it may be 
known to others, or even to themselves that they are so 
lost, I shall say nothing now ; I have spoken my mind to 
that very publicly another way in that book called " The 
Redeemer's Tears ;" and may say somewhat more to it in 
the use, before 1 pass from this subject. But that there are 
some (I say) so irrecoverably lost, while they as yet are 
under the gospel is out of all doubt ; whether they can 
know it, or others know it, which is less to be supposed, 
1 shall say no more now. But concerning them, of whom 
this is not to be said of them, that they are irrecove- 
rably lost, though their case be much worse than the 
common case: yet there may be degrees in it of greater, 
and less probability of their yet being wrought upon to 
their recovery and salvation. And that we shall come to 
and consider by and by, when we speak of the connection 
between these two, the gospel's being hid; and their being 

But as to the import and meaning of the phrase here, it 
is plain it doth chiefly refer to the latter sort of men, that 
is, that are lost in a worse sense than the common case doth 
amount to. It is not to be supposed that men's being lost 
in the common sense, can be the thing here intended in tliis 
scripture, " if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are 
lost :" why, all are lost! it must therefore be meant in a pe- 
culiar sense. It is evident then he doth not speak here of 
men's being lost in that sense wherein all are lost by na- 
ture ; but he speaks of them that live under the gospel, 
and are not yet recovered and saved by it, whether these 
may be said to be recoverably, or irrecoverably lost; yea, 
or no ; whether it be the one or the other of them, the thing 


is sad ; and because the determination is so ver}' distinct, 
how to bring a determining hne between those that are, 
under the gospel, lost irrecoverably, and them that are 
lost recoverably ; nnd since we cannot tell among all, those 
who belong to tiie one rank, and who belong to the other 
rank, and it may be no one person can tell concerning 
himself, that he doth most certainly belong to that more 
horrid view of such as are lost irrecoverably ; therefore we 
shall only take the matter indefinitely concerning those 
that are lost, in a worse sense than men in general can be 
said to be. And so we pass on in the next place, 

3. To shew the connection between these two, the gos- 
pel being hid and such men being lost; for I told you, in 
the doctrine that the gospel being hid unto such, is a sad 
token of their being lost, that I may state this connection 
to you ; you may in the general take this for a ground, 
that those are to be reckoned the significant tokens that do 
belong to the thing they betoken, either as causes or effects 
of it; or whatsoever things are connected with one ano- 
ther as cause and efi'ect, the one of these doth significantly 
betoken the other. Now that connection which there is 
between these two, the gospel's being hid, and the soul's 
being lost, is a connection of cause and effect. And this 
connection may be mutual and interchangeable ; that is, 
something of the gospel's being hid may be the cause of 
the soul's being lost; and again, the soul's being lost may 
be the cause of the gospel's being hid. And so they may 
change pl£^ces ; they may be alternate, as it were, in the 
matter ; they may be mutual causes and effects to one 
another. We shall consider, 

1. The connection between these two the former way, 
that is, the gospel's being hid being the cause why they 
are lost. And if it be hid it must needs endanger their 
being lost by a casual contribution that it hath thereunto, 
whether we can say they are recoverably lost or irreco- 
verably ; the gospel's being hid to them is a cause of it, a 
manifest cause of it; if they are at last lost; into 
this it most manifestly results, the gospel was hid from 
them. If it be always hid they are surely lost ; if it be so 
hid that at length the veil be done away, it will appear, 
that though they were lost they were not remedilessly lost, 
but upon a two-fold account the gospel's being hid must 
be the cause of the soul's being lost. 1st. As the gospel's 
being hid doth include in it the want of somewhat that's 
necessary to salvation ; and, 2ndly, as the gospel's being 

SER. IX.) J'Vh^ Men are lost. 143 

hid doth include somewhat in it that promotes their de- 
struction. These two ways the gospel's being hid is the 
cause of their souls' being lost. 

1. As it carries in it the want of somewhat that was 
necessary to salvation is the gospel hid to them, then they 
must want that without which they cannot be saved so long 
as the gospel is hid to them. The knowledge and belief of 
gospel truths, the acceptance of gospel offers, and subjec- 
tiun to gospel commands, are things without which they 
cannot be saved. But while the gospel is hid to them 
these things must be wanting : they must want the saving 
knowledge of gospel truths ; they must want true accep- 
tance of gospel grace and offers; they must want entire 
and sincere obedience to gospel commands; and without 
these tliey will be lost : these they can never attain to 
while the gospel remains hid; while it is an hidden gospel 
all things contained in it may be represented to them, but 
they are all so many parables, they understand nothing of 
the meaning of them; all that is said to them is only as a 
story told to a man asleep, orbetween sleeping and waking, 
and whereof there is no more perfect sense begot in their 
minds than there is of any thing that you mutter to the ear 
of a man asleep. They cannot believe what they do not 
understand, and they cannot accept those offers that de- 
pend upon truths which they do not believe; and they can 
never yield obedience to those commands which stand in 
conjunction with such offers, and their obedience and sub- 
jection thereunto must be in equal connection with their 
acceptance of those offers. I cannot take Christ to be 
my Saviour, but 1 must take him to be my Lord at the 
same time ; and he that takes him to be his Lord, doth it 
without despair; but with hope that he shall be entertained 
by him, and treated by him as a Saviour. But nothing of 
this can be where the gospel is hid, and while it remains 
still an hidden gospel. So all tliis, while these souls do 
yet- continue lost souls, even for this very cause, for this as 
the cause, that the gospel being an hidden gospel doth 
imply the want of things necessary to salvation. But also, 

2. The gospel's being an hidden gospel doth imply also 
that which manifestly tends to promote their destruction. 
And under that head two things do come to be considered, 
indisposition on their part, and provocation on God's part; 
and both these growing so much the more, by how much 
the longer they continue void of impression under the 


( 1 .) An indisposition on their pai t to all the duty they are 
to do^ and to all tlje advant^iges they are to use and enjoy 
in order to their salvation ; they grow more and more in- 
disposed the longer they live under the gospel as an hidden 
gospel, it is necessary, in order to their salvation, that 
they should exercise " repentance towards God, and faith 
in our Lord Jesus Christ." But they grow more and more 
indisposed to these, by liow much the longer they continue 
under the gospel as an hidden gospel to them ; and that in 
several respects. 

1. The great things contained in the gospel that should 
influence them hereunto, they grow from time to time less 
and less considerable to them : what should have influence 
to the turning of a soul through Christ to bring him to ex- 
ercise *' repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord 
Jesus Christ," grows from time to time less considerable. 
These mighty weighty motives are contained in the gos- 
pel. Sinner, if thou dost not turn thou diest ! If thou dost 
not fall into a closure with the Son of God as thy Redeemer, 
Saviour, and Lord, thou art a ruined creature to all eter- 
nity. Lo, here is a glorious heaven before thee, that will 
be the reward of thy gospel obedience. Here is a place 
and state of torment, a fiery gulf, a flaming hell before 
thee, and in view too, that must determine thy place, and 
the state of thy eternal torment and punishment if thou 
turn not, if thou flo not obey the gospel, if thou becomest 
not a serious penitent and sincere believer, a faithful duti- 
ful subject to God in Christ. Here are the great consi- 
derations which the gospel presents men with, to influence 
their turning, their renovation and conversion to God 
through Christ. Now the longer men continue under the 
gospel, while it yet continues an hidden gospel to them, 
the less do these considerations signify with them from 
day to day ; because the force of them hath been spent 
upon them (as it were) heretofore, and now they signify 
little, still less and less. Such considerations as these, 
though they are the weightiest and most important that 
can be imagined, yet they have been blown upon; and, 
saith the obdurate sinner, I have learned long ago to make 
light of these things ; and, what? do you tell me of these 
things now ? These are the greatest things that can be told 
them, or mentioned to them. But these things they have 
learned long ago to make very little of, so as they can say, 
in case you talk of heaven to ine now, pray wjiat doth it 
signify more now than it did ten or twenty years ago ? Is 

SER. IX.) Why Men are lost. 145 

heaven grown a better thing than it was seven or ten years 
ago ? and I made light of it then. And is hell grown a 
more terrible tiling now than it was seven or ten years ago ? 
and I made light of it then ; and, pray, wiiy cannot I as 
well do so now r These considerations, which should have 
the mightiest power upon the spirits of men, they still sig- 
nify less and less, when they continue long under the gos- 
pel, while it remains still an hidden gospel to them; for 
these are blown upon, and men have taught themselves to 
make light of them, and to have them signify little or 
nothing to them : — if you cannot speak to me of somewhat 
greater than heaven and hell, eternal blessedness and eter- 
nal misery, you move not me, for these things I have heard 
and made light of long iigo. And, 

2. The longer the gospel is hid, the minds of men grow 
the blinder, as if there be no ability to face the sun with- 
out prejudice ; the longer you face it the more your preju- 
dice will be. There is a way of beholding that glorious 
light wliich shines in the gospel without prejudice, and 
with the greatest advantage, its beams being refracted as 
they are allayed by grace; and so it is not an amazing 
astonishing glory, but a cheering, reviving heart-exhila- 
rating glory, that shines through the glass of the gospel 
dispeusation. But if the gospel be so hid from men that 
it cannot be thus looked upon, then their minds grow 
blinder and blinder. The sun hath put out their eyes, as 
the god of this world is said to do in the very next verse. 
It is a very dreadful thing to be struck blind with gospel 
light ; but that is the case with many, — gospel light strikes 
them blind, and their minds grow less and less receptive, 
the longer they remain under this gospel without effect, 
without receiving the proper impressions of it. The proper 
impression of it would contemper the eye to the object, 
the visible power to that glory that clothes the object ; 
but while nothing of this is done, the longer the light of 
the gospel shines, the less perspicuity there is in the eye of 
their minds ; it is less perceptive, less capable of taking it 
in. And, 

3. Conscience is grown weaker ; and so they are more 
indisposed to all the duties, and the use of the advantages 
that are requisite to their salvation. Conscience, it grows 
weaker, and is more debilitated for the doing its proper 
office. The context shews us plainly how the state of this 
case must be understood ; that is, that in the ministra- 
tion of this gospel, they, whose work it is, do apply them- 

VOL. VUf. I- 


selves to the very consciences of men in the sight of God ; 
and that truth which they preach carries in it (as you 
have heard) a self-recommending evidence to the con- 
sciences of men. Hereupon there is a close grappling be- 
tween such truth and conscience; for they do apply them- 
selves in the sight of God, in preaching such truths to the 
consciences of men, that they do, and that they must do ; 
truth then is insinuating, and gets within ; as it must be 
supposed to do when it is held in unrighteousness. " The 
wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungod- 
liness and unrighteousness of men, (Rom. i. 18,) who hold 
the truth in unrighteousness." They that hold the truth in 
unrighteousness do hold it ; it is got within them. Then^ 
I say, there is a close and immediate grapple and tug be- 
tween truth let in, truth intermitted, and conscience ; but 
they have got the victory. Truth, so far as conscience 
receives it in, is engaged against corrupt inclinations, 
against vicious appetites, against a carnal heart that is 
averse and disaffected to God. Here lies the grapple be- 
tween truth in the conscience, and the power of corrupt 
inclination in the heart. Well, vicious inclination hath 
got the victory ; every such victory makes the next easier; 
every former victory makes way for a following one, with 
80 much the greater facility; and conscience having been 
baffled once by the power of corrupt and carnal inclination 
can the more easily be baffled again. As you know, if 
there be two combatants engaged with one another in a 
very close tug and grapple, he that is conquered and re- 
ceives the foil hath spent a great deal of his strength, and 
is grown weaker, and so is the more easily thrown again 
if there succeed another grapple. So it is in this case, 
when men have once brought conscience to yield, when 
they have succeeded so far in the design of mortifying 
conscience, further conquest is the more easy; for (as it 
hath been heretofore told you upon some occasion) when 
these two are engaged against one another, carnal incli- 
nation in the heart, and light in the mind, or conscience, 
they being opposite one to another, and mutually engaged 
one against another, the one must die; either conscience 
must be mortified, or corrupt inclination must be mortified. 
And whereas, the design, intendment, and tendency of 
gospel truth is to inforce a mortification of corrupt incli- 
nation; but the gospel is hid and doth not prevail in order 
thereunto, then the other part is doomed to death. There 
can be no consent, no yielding to it, that corrupt inclina- 

SE E. X.) Why Men are lost. 147 

tion should die : then that of course must be yielded to, 
Jet conscience die; if there must be a mortification, let it 
be upon conscience, and not upon appetite, not upon cor- 
rupt inclination, let that live, and let conscience die. And 
so much now is done towards the killing and mortifying of 
it; and so it grows weaker and weaker still, by how much 
the more the resistance to a gospel yet hid hath been con- 
tinued and kept on foot. And so the indisposition grows 
more and more, the longer the gospel is hid; and so there 
is so much the more likelihood to be a being finally lost. 
That such will be finally lost, are in the way, and tending 
to it apace, in the concurrence of such things as do now 
meet in their case ; as we would say of a vessel in a storm, 
and as was said of that wherein the Apostle Paul was, all 
hope that they should be saved was taken away ; Acts xxvii. 
20. No hope left of being saved. You may suppose such 
a concurrence in such a case, that there shall appear very 
little hope; here are so violent storms upon the soul that 
hath abandoned and surrendered itself, against conscience, 
to the government of lust and corrupt inclination. 

And here is the Spirit of God gone ; as we shall have 
occasion to show more hereafter. And here is the devil let 
loose upon a man. '' In whom the god of this world hath 
blinded their eyes." Any one that looks upon this endan- 
gered vessel would say the ship were lost, it doth not obey 
the helm; for so the man doth not whose conscience hath 
no power over him, doth not govern him ; she doth not an- 
swer the helm ; she falls from the helm; she is lost, would 
we say of such a vessel. The storm is violent upon it ; cor- 
rupt inclination grows stronger; God is gone, and the 
devil hath seized it, and taken possession, and is putting 
out the eyes of the poor creature as fast as he can. The 
man is visibly lost. We do not know what miracles God 
may work ; we know not what he may do, but in all appear- 
ance the man is lost. 

There are other things to be said concerning the growing 
indisposition upon such a soul, as to the things that are 
necessary to its being saved ; and many things that will 
show the provocation grows on God's part while this indis- 
position is growing on man's part. And, take all together, 
and it seems a very hopeless case, if it be not altogether 
desperate. Truly there is very little hope left in such a 
case, that they should be saved at length to whom the gos- 
pel doth thus remain hid. 

L 2 



2 Corinthians, jv. 3. 

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. 

I HAVE already opened unto you what is meant by the 
gospel being hid, and what is meant by theii' being lost to 
whom it is so ; and shewn you in what peculiar sense both 
those must be taken, different from what is the common 
case of the apostate unconverted world : that both here 
must be understood to superadd somewhat to that common 
case, wherein men as sinners in the state of apostacy, in 
the most general sense have the gospel hid to them, and 
are themselves in a lost state. 

We have from hence gone on to shew you the connec- 
tion between these two, the gospel's being hid and their 
being lost ; and you have heard the one of these may be 
spoken of as betokening the other, and so they are mani- 
festly put together here ; and that these tokens are most 
significant when the token and the thing betokened have 
the relation of cause and effect one to another; that these 
two may be understood to have that mutual and reciprocal 
relation to one another. 

That is, that the gospel being hid may be the cause that 
such are lost to whom it is so hid, and their being lost the 
effect; and back again, that their being lost may be the 
cause, and the gospel's being hid the effect ; and, accordingly, 
with some difference may this context be understood, ac- 
cording to that two-fold sense, or reference, that one of 
these may have to the other. Take the former reference 
or habitude of these to the other, and the sense will run 
thus; that is, that since the great things of the gospel, 
about which we apply ourselves to the very consciences of 
men in the sight of God, are so very plain, and do carry so 
clear and convictive light with them, as they do, if yet the 
gospel shall remain hid to such as are thus dealt with 
from time to time, their minds will grow, in all likelihood, 
more and more indisposed to comport with the design of 
it; God will grow more and more displeased, his displea- 
sure will rise higher and higher; their guilt will grow 

* Preached April 12, 1691. 

SEK. X.) The Cause of Men being lost. 149 

greater and greater, and they will be more visibly in dan- 
ger of being finally lost; or, according to the latter refer- 
ence, the sense will be thus, that the great things of the 
gospel are of such evidence, and of such manifest impor- 
tance, that the consciences of men being applied to, and 
dealt with from time to time about them, it is hardly con- 
ceivable such things can be hid to such persons unless they 
be lost. The matter is otherwise unaccountable, why such 
things should not take hold of men ; surely they are lost 
that such things will not fasten upon them. You know, 
according to the former reference, as being hid is the cause, 
being lost is the effect; this we have spoken already, and 
shewed you that the gospel being hid must be the cause of 
their being lost to whom it is so; both as its being hid 
doth exclude what is necessary to their salvation, and as 
it doth include what contributes to their destruction. 

And now we go on to the other reference that the one of 
these hath to the other ; that is, as being lost may be the 
cause, and the gospel's being hid may be the effect: and it 
is exceeding agreeable to the design of this context to under- 
stand the matter so. We do, saith he, in this ministry of 
our's commend ourselves to the consciences of men in the 
sight of God. This is plain ; and this is our constant 
course. And what? is it a supposeable thing that our gos- 
pel should be hid to them while we do so ? How can it be ? 
Jt can be upon no other account but that they are lost; it 
must needs argue and suppose them a lost sort of men, 
upon whom a gospel, so applying itself to conscience, 
doth not fasten, takes no hold. 

But then (will you say,) How must being lost be under- 
stood ? 1 have told you already how it must be understood 
in this place ; you are sure it cannot be that they are even- 
tually lost, or already in hell; it cannot be understood so; 
and it cannot be understood that they are lost in that sense 
that is common to the apostate world, in respect whereof 
the Son of Man is said to have come to seek and " save 
that which was lost." But there are two things besides that 
it may and must mean in this case. 

1. That they are sinfully lost ; they are lost in sin ; they 
arelost in carnality,and that in a deeper degree than is com- 
mon to the rest of the world. There is a greater and more 
confirmed dominion of sin in them, in their several facul- 
ties and powers, than in the generality of the unconverted 
world, as such ; greater, deeper, blacker darkness upon 
their minds; the god of this world (as it follows in the next 

L 3 


verse) hath put out their eyes, hath blinded them, so as 
they have less light, less eye-sight than before they had, 
(so it must be understood,) or tlian men commonly have, 
otherwise there were no peculiar reason in the case why 
this should be said of them. But we find it said. If it were 
to be understood that the god of this world hath no other- 
wise blinded them than he hath blinded the unconverted 
world, why should it be said that they are lost more than 
all others upon that account ? That would argue and be 
a reason that all are lost alike, if all were blind alike. But 
he hath " blinded the minds of them that believe not;" he 
hath been dealing with them all the while they have been 
otherwise dealt with by another hand, to be brought to 
faith ; he hath been endeavouring to confirm them in their 
unbelief, and hath made their minds more blind than ever 
they were ; and they are at a remoter distance from be- 
lieving than ever, as that fascination by which he hath 
possessed their minds, hath more and more taken hold of 
them. And it must be understood that they are lost more 
in heart-sins ; disaffection to the holy designs of the gospel, 
enmity against God and against Christ hath prevailed to a 
greater height in them, and so they are lost, lost in sin. 

2. They must be understood hereupon to be lost under 
deeper guilt and an heavier doom, that is from God, pe- 
nally upon them ; so that he hath been even provoked to 
" swear against them, in his wrath, that they should not 
enter into his rest;" as in that Heb. iii. 11, quoted from the 
95th Psalm, that was sworn against them that believed not ; 
as it was here in this context said, the minds were blinded 
of them that believed not. 

But this (you may say) is very severe. And trnl}^ it is 
so. But how can we help it ? We cannot by our thought, 
this way or that, alter the nature of things. They will lie as 
they do; but we may, by a due use of our thoughts, and 
according to that light which the Holy Scriptures afford 
us, come to understand things more to advantage. And 
some things I shall offer to you that may tend partly to 
justify and partly to mollify this severity. It is indeed 
very severe, that men under the gospel should arrive to 
that state, to that pitch, to be so far lost, as that to sup- 
pose them now to continue never so long under it, they 
shall never be the better for it. Let the plainest things 
that can be thought or spoken be said to them, they shall 
be always hid to them, because they are lost. A fearful 

SER. X.) God justified therein. 151 

thing ! But do but consider a little what I shall offer to 
you, which may have that double tendency, that I spoke of, 
partly to justify this severity, and partly to mollify it. As, 

1. Consider this, that those that are thus lost, hereupon 
is likely to be still a hidden gospel to them, let them hear 
it never so long, they are like to be never the better for it. 
I say. Consider, that if any are thus lost, they were not 
always so lost. This is a thing that is come upon them, 
and which they have drawn upon themselves. It must be 
understood with reference to a former day which they have 
had, wherein the matter was otherwise, wherein they lay 
not under that dreadful stupefaction^ and that heavy doom 
which now will come upon them. They had their day; 
those had so in that 95th Psalm, who are given us for a 
sort of paradigm, they against whom God " sware in his 
wrath that they should not enter into his rest." He bare 
their manners in the wilderness forty years, as the expres- 
sion is, in the 7th of Acts, of dying Stephen. There is 
time supposed to have been afforded to such under the 
gospel, to whom the matter is come to this. They had their 
day ; those that live within the compass of that light 
which revelation adds to the common light of natural rea- 
son ; they have their more special day, and have always had 
so. There is a time, concerning which it is said to sinners, 
" To-day, if ye will hear my voice, harden not your hearts." 
He limits a certain day, a certain now ; and this is a more 
critical now. There is a more peculiar crisis of time with 
such as live under the gospel than is with other men that 
have not that peculiar light which is afforded to the church 
of God in the world. God did, in a sort, connive at the 
nations of the earth that went every one in their own way, 
as it is said in the 17th of Acts, did overlook them, did not 
look upon them with so curious, so narrow, so inquisitive 
an eye ; (as it were, speaking of God after the manner of 
men ;) " but now (saith the Apostle) he commandeth all 
men every where to repent." As that Roman Consul, who, 
treating with Antiochus, (who made war upon some allies 
of the Roman state,) demanded of him in the name of the 
senate and commonwealth of Rome to withdraw his forces 
from molesting such a place. Saith the king. What time 
do you allow me to think of this, or consider it ? He imme- 
diately draws, with a rod he had in his hand, a circle about 
the king, and tells him, — Now, before you stir out of this 
circle, declare whether you will be a friend to the senate 
and people of Rome, or an enemy :— >so doth God circum- 



scribe men, and set them limits. Now, out of hand, it may 
be in reference to some of us here in this assembly ; the 
determination may be now, before you stir out of this place. 
Declare whether you will be reconciled, or persist in your 
enmity and unreconciled state. How many passages of 
Scripture do speak to this sense ! " Seek the Lord while he 
may be found, and call upon him while he is near; let 
the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his 
thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will 
have mercy upon him, and unto our God, for he will abun- 
dantly pardon." Isaiah Iv. 3,6. Now or never; now you 
have time for it ; it may be, shortly you will have none, 
nor any ever after. It is a great thing which you find in 
that somewhat parallel text, (Luke xix. 42.) our Saviour 
beholds Jerusalem with weeping eyes, in his approach to 
it, being then upon the opposite hill, the Mount of Olives, 
between which and that whereon Jerusalem stood there 
was a valley, in which ran the Brook Kidron ; when he was 
on the opposite hill, and on his descent of that, he having 
a convenient view of Jerusalem, as it lay before him, he 
weeps over it in such words as these, (mingled with tears,) 
" Oh ! that thou hadst known, at least, in this thy day, the 
things that belong to thy peace! But now they are hid 
from thine eyes." Tears intermingle with, and at length 
interrupt the words, and cause that apotheosis, so as that 
the sentence was not filled vrp. " If thou hadst known, in 
this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace." It is 
filled up with a more speaking silence, by a silence more 
emphatical than words could be, — " If thou hadst known ;" 
we are only left to conceive what had been if they had 
known the things that belong to their peace in that their 
day ; " but now they are hid from thine eyes !" Oh, how 
terribly emphatical is that now ! — Now they are hid, a lit- 
tle while ago they were not hid ; now they are. The cur- 
tain is drawn that creates (for aught we know) an eternal 
night; that curtain being drawn between the wretched 
soul and that glorious light that did shine upon it : " Now 
is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." 'i Cor. 
vi. 1,2. There is such a now, and there is another now ; 
wherein this now is over, as in that 2 Cor. vi. 2. referred 
to that of the Prophet Isaiah, xlix. 8; supposing then, any 
to be thus lost, they were not always so lost ; the case was 
in this respect sometimes otherwise with them. And then, 
2. Supposing them thus lost, and the gospel thereupon 
- thus hid, permanently hid, this must refer to the former 

SER. X.) God justified therein. 153 

provocation ; with many of them God was not well pleased ; 
they who had that day in the wilderness, whose carcases 
leli in the wilderness, [four congregations be full of car- 
cases, if there be so many walking carcases that fill our 
streets from day to day, God is not well pleased; if the gos- 
pel be a lifeless gospel, God is not well pleased, he is pro- 
■voked. But, further, 

3. The causes of that provocation are high and great, so 
that we have no reason to think it strange if the effects 
that ensue have very dreadful severity in them. Let me 
but instance to you, in some concurrences that do make 
the cause of such displeasure and provocation. As, 

(1.) That when men let themselves thus be lost under the 
gospel by their neglect of it, and their non-attendance to 
it; they are the greatest things imaginable which they did 
neglect, to which they refused their attendance, which they 
would not regard. When the gospel did in the first age of- 
it begin to shed its light upon the world, (though in that 
more wonderful manner the things were not more won- 
derful than now,) you hear in that (Acts ii. 11.) that when 
that gift of tongues was so amazingly, by miracle, first 
conferred, all the people in that vast confluence at Jerusa- 
lem, at that time, from so many several countries, each one 
heard in his own tongue. — What did he hear ?^ — " The 
wonderful things of God." The gospel is not another gos- 
pel from what it was then ; it acquaints us with most won- 
derful things still. This was the aggravation upon Israel 
of old, upon Ephraim ; '* I have written unto them the 
great things of my law, and they have accounted them a 
strange thing," counted them strange to them. Hos. viii. 
12. That might have been more coramodiously ex- 
pressed according to the significancy of the word there 
used," were counted to the man alien thing," a foreign thing; 
a thing that concerned them not, which they had nothing 
to do with, which they looked upon as we used to look 
upon strangers, men that we never saw or knew before ; 
we look upon them wistly ; so they looked upon the won- 
derful things of the law of God, and so those do here upon 
the wonderful things of the gospel ; whereas they are great 
and wonderful, they should command a man's ears, and 
engage the attention of his mind to consider and take no- 
tice of them ; they look upon them as strange things, as 
alien and foreign to them, and which they had nothing to 
do with. This is very provoking, when such things are 
brought to our notice, as " angels stoop down to look 


into." The descent of the glorious Son of God into the 
world, how did it amaze the glorious angels above! What 
is the meaning of this r say they. They look down after 
him. — What is the intention of this strange descent? — 
What is it for that the heir of heaven should go down into 
that lost, forlorn, wretched world ? He that was the 
brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of 
his person, is going down to visit that dark region of death. 
What means he there ? What would he do there ? Did 
they think he went down to die ? Did they think he went 
down to be a man? Did they think he went down to offer 
himself a sacrifice upon a tree for the redemption and sal- 
vation of such ? When so wonderful things as these are 
made known ; and about these things (saith the Apostle) 
we apply ourselves to the consciences of men in the sight 
of God ; we appeal to their consciences about the rights of 
the Redeemer, and what duty, and what homage, must be 
owed to him from the redeemed. And, if our gospel be 
hid you are lost ; if you will not regard such a gospel, 
though having in it so great things, you must be lost. 
And then, 

(2.) These great thiags are set in the gospel dispensation 
before men, in the clearest light. They are not represented 
darkly and unintelligibly, and in parables ; but the most 
important things, and those about which they are most of 
all dealt with, are the plainest things, that every one that 
runs may read. What? is there so much of mystery in 
" repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus 
Christ," and in loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, 
and souls, and might, and our neighbour as ourselves ? Is 
there so much of mystery in these, that men will not re- 
gard the greatest things, and clothed with the clearest 
light ? What else doth that mean — We recommend our- 
selves to the consciences of men in the sight of God ? 
They are such things, as every conscience of man may be 
expected to admit conviction about out of hand, without 
more ado ; then, sure, if the gospel be hid, it is hid to 
them that are lost. It comes from hence that they are a 
lost sort of men, otherwise such things could not be hid 
from them. And, 

(3.) They are things that men are dealt with about in the 
highest name ; for, when we come to you, to deal with you 
about these things, we do not come upon our own errand ; 
we do not come to you in our own name; but the mi- 
nisters of this gospel are ministers of Christ, and they come 

SER. X.) God justified therein. 155 

to you in the name of Christ; iind he hath expressly said ; 
" tie that heareth you, heareth me; and he that heareth 
me, heareth him that sent me." This same gospel dispen- 
sation is the ministry of the Son of God, as the case is 
plainly stated before us in that 1st of Hebrews, beginning, 
^' God, that spake many other ways in former times, hath 
now spoken to us by his Son;" and continues speaking to 
us by his Son ; and (as he represents the case in the next 
chapter) " How shall we escape if we neglect so great sal- 
vation, which began to be spoken by the Lord, and was 
confirmed to us by ihem that heard him ; God bearing them 
witness ?" And afterwards, in the ]2th chapter and 25th 
verse, '*■ See that ye refuse not him that speaketh ; for if 
they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, 
much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him 
that speaketh from heaven." This is said, when we are 
told that our Lord was at the right hand of God on the 
throne of the Majesty on high; as in the 3d verse of that 
chapter, having given an account of our being under this 
ministry of the Son of God ; though we are told, that, 
" he, having purged our sins by himself, he sat down on 
the right hand of the Majesty on high ;" yet still we are 
under his dispensation, and still he is the great Speaker to 
us ; so that now, when any suffer themselves to be thus lost 
under the gospel, in their own sinful and chosen deceiving 
blindness and enmity against it, no wonder if it be deter- 
mined that it shall be an hidden gospel to them, and they 
lie long enough under the dispensation of it, and be never 
the better ; for they have been affronting tlie Majesty of 
the Son of God under the dispensation all this time. He 
that did seek and command greater attention, and greater 
reverence, and greater subjection of spirit, and upon higher 
right and title than when there was that terrible appear- 
'ance upon Mount Sinai, that shook the earth, and that 
seemed as if it would have put the creation into a paroxysm ; 
there hath been a greater obligation to the deepest reve- 
rence and veneration upon them. And how just is the 
provocation when this gospel is neglected, and men lose 
themselves under it, for him to say and determine this, — 
Well now, as to you it shall always be an hidden gospel ! 
And again, 

(4.) There is this farther in the case, that these great 
things in that great name, in that most excellent name, 
have been hinted, not once but often ; and often inculcated 
and urged over and over again in the authority of the same 


name. What a mighty weight doth this add to the same 
load of guilt ! and how much matter doth it supply to feed 
the indignation, to heighten the provocation, that such 
were applied to from time to time, in a continued course, 
for many years together. *' The earth, that drinketh in 
the rain that cometh oft upon it, and brings forth herbs 
meet for him by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from 
God : if there be; fruit, a blessing comes upon it, and fol- 
lows it ; if there be no fruit, nothing but briers and thorns, 
then it is followed with a curse, and a dreadful curse, — 
" It is nigh unto cursing, and its end is to be burned." 
Heb. vi. 7, 8. " He that being often reproved, hardeneth 
his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without 
remedy." Prov. xxix. 1. A fearful thing, when the gos- 
pel itself shall not be my remedy ! — shall be destroyed with- 
out remedy ; no remedy shall remed}' your case. And, 

(5.) We must suppose the Spirit to have often been at 
work in this time, and while such things were from time 
to time inculcated ; so it was with the people of Israel ; 
" you do always resist the Holy Ghost." Acts vii. He 
was then always striving, more or less, otherwise there 
i:ould not always be a resistance. That is doing " despite 
to the Spirit of grace." Heb. x. 29. And herein is the 
greatest provocation, as I have told you heretofore, there 
is a remarkable accent in that expression, '' the Spirit of 
grace." Oh, that Spirit of all kindness, and grace, and 
sweetness, and benignity ! to despite him, what an high 
provocation is this ? When he comes and toucheth any of 
your minds, and makes some impression on your hearts, 
saith he, secretly and inwardly : " Sinner, wilt thou yet 
return ? Hast thou yet no desire after God ? — no inclina- 
tion to know a Redeemer, and choose and close with him ? 
Now to spite a Spirit of grace, when he speaks to you 
so kindly, and so sweetly, and so tenderly, — Ob, sinner, do 
not go on, and perish for ever ! — here is the very height of 
provocation. The word, in the original, signifies to in- 
jure inwardly the Spirit of grace, to make the injury enter 
into him, as it were ; it imports to sting a man to the heart, 
to the very soul ; as if it had been said, your injury pierceth 
into that Spirit of grace, that Spirit of love, kindness, and 
goodness ; it enters into it. Thus it must be, when in 
such days, and at such times as these, the great things of 
the gospel are heard with no effect. And, 

(6.) It must be supposed, conscience was in some mea- 
sure convinced at this time; for applications were made to 

SER. X.) God justified therein. 157 

it in the plainest cases. We have applied ourselves to the 
consciences of men in the sight of God, saith the Apostle. 
And now if our gospel be hid, it is that you are lost. And, 

(7.) It must be supposed too, that ati'ections have been 
stirred in some measure and variously; there have been 
some desires enkindled, and some fears awakened, and some 
hopes and joys possibly raised, and some tastes and relishes 
of the sweetness that is in this Gospel, and of the things 
contained therein; as it is supposed in that Heb. iv. 4, 5. 
after all this, to lose yourselves in darkness and wickedness ; 
now if the gospel be hid, there is no recovering such by 
repentance, as he thereafterwards speaks. But, 

(8.) This adds weight to all the rest, that they were very 
light matters for which men have exposed themselves to 
this fearful loss, even of themselves, of their very souls: 
a loss that nothing can recompense, nothing can make up. 
" What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matt, 
xvi. 26. What hast thou had in exchange for thy soul? 
The smallest matters imaginable, the temporary satisfaction 
of a lust. I sold my soul (may one say) to please my friend. 
1 sold my soul (may another say) for the love I had, for 
the lust I had, to a cup of drink. 1 sold my soul (may a 
third say) for the pleasure I took in a vain idle companion. 
These are the things that kept me from closing with God, 
uniting with my Redeemer, and from engaging and per- 
sisting in the way of life. O that God, and Christ, and 
heaven, should be set so low! Thou didst break wi,tli me, 
(must tlie great God say, and must the Redeemer that died 
for you say,) thou didst break with me for a trifle, for a 
thing of nought; yea, thou didst prefer before me the 
vilest things, the most odious things. Thou didst rather 
choose to be a vassal, a slave to lust, than to live under the 
easy yoke and government of a compassionate and merci- 
ful Redeemer and Saviour. The deformities of wickedness 
were more amiable in thine eyes than the beauties of holi- 
ness. What can be said in this case, when the story comes 
to be told, and the matter is to be represented just as it is, 
that it is thus as you have heard ? 

And that is the third thing to be considered in this case: 
— That as former provocation must have been supposed, so 
that provocation must have been very high and very great 
upon these sundry mentioned accounts. But then 1 add 
upon all this, 

4. That if any hereupon be thus lost (as you have heard) 
it is only that God hath retired from them, withdrawn 


from tliem. He hath not positively hurt them ; he never 
put any ill thoughts into them, or any ill disposition of 
mind. If it be severe in itself, and dreadful to you, that 
you are now a lost creature, God hath no hand in it, other- 
wise than as he retired from you : — " Thy destruction is of 
thyself, but in him is thy help found." Hos. xiii. 9. He 
was ready to help thee, and to save thee, thou only de- 
stroyed thyself; he only withdrew that presence for which 
thou didst not care, that Spirit which thou didst vex and 
grieve; that is all: he never put any ill thought or incli- 
nation into thy mind and heart, thou destroyedst thyself; 
he did but say, These wretched creatures do not care for me, 
do not care for my Son, do not care for my Spirit; well, 1 
will retire, I will let them alone, I will let them have their 
own way. He had said to you, '* Turn ye at my reproof, 
I will pour out my Spirit upon you, I will make known ray 
words unto you; 1 called and ye refused, I stretched out 
my hands, and no man regarded." Prov. i. Well, I behold 
your destruction now. It is not said, I will destroy you, 
but " I will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your 
fear cometh ;" and it will certainly come. God tempteth 
no man, neither is he tempted by any; but every man is 
" tempted when he is led away of his own lust and enti- 
ced." James i. 14. And then I would add lastly, 

5. That although all this be very certain, yet we cannot 
suppose the Apostle here to be absolutely decisive in his 
judgment concerning the final states of particular persons: 
such may be more lost, and in a worse and more dreadful 
sense lost than many others in the world, than the gene- 
rality of the pagan world. But though they are so, it is not 
for all that determined that they are so lost as that they 
cannot be recovered. And we are sure they are not so lost 
as that they cannot be recovered, if they have not sinned 
that sin which cannot be pardoned; and which I do in the 
general believe that no man hath ever committed, or is 
guilty of, that is afraid he hath; indeed, your case i^ more 
dangerous than before, which should awaken you so much 
the more, because it is dangerous, and you are upon ha- 
zardous terms. They may be said to be lost, as being more 
out of the reach of the ordinary methods of grace, who yet 
are not absolutely lost, not sure to be finally lost. And no 
man hath reason to apprehend he is so lost, finally lost, 
irrecoverably lost, that comes once to be solicitous about it. 
No, if our God hath brought you to consider and bethink 
yourself; f am in danger to be lost, 1 know not what will 

SER. XI.) God justijied thej'ein. 159 

become of me, or of my case at length, if I that hav^e been 
such a stranger to God should continue much longer a 
stranger to him; if I that have neglected to capitulate with 
the Son of God should much longer neglect it ; I know not 
what will become of this, it may be bitterness in the end. 
If you begin thus to consider, 1 hope the issue will prove 
thus, that it will be said of you as it was of the Prodigal 
Son, " This my son was dead and is alive, he was lost but 
is found." But more to this purpose, (as I have partly 
intimated already,) I shall speak in the use. 



But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. 

They are lost souls to whom the gospel is an hidden 
gospel. This (you know) we have been upon from these 
words; and we have in this shewed you what is meant by 
the gospel's being hid, and what is meant by the soul's 
being lost ; and that both these are to be understood in a 
sense peculiar and different from the common case of men; 
and in what reference the gospel's being hid, and their 
being lost, doth differ from the common case, we have 
particularly shewn you : and have further shewn the con- 
nection between these things, the gospel's being hid, and 
soul's being lost, to whom it is so; the one doth betoken 
the other, and they are the most significant tokens which 
have connection with the thing betokened ; as causes and 
effects, the one to the other, i have shewn this is the case 
here: that the gospel's being hid, it is a cause of the soul's 
being lost, both as it excludes what is necessary to their 
salvation, and as it includes what promotes their destruc- 
tion. I have again shewed you too, that being lost may 
also be the cause of the gospel's being hid ; and shewn how 
being lost is to be taken in that case: lost in wickedness, 
as men more extremely wicked are said to be, and lost 
under a divine doom. So they must be understood to be 
to whom the gospel is therefore hid, men given up and 

* Preached April 19, 1691. 


forsaken of God, and then the God of this world blinds 
til em. 

And because this appears very severe, therefore I did by 
sundry considerations endeavour partly to justify, and 
partly to mollify, this severity; now I come to the use of 
this important truth. And it will be useful. 

Use ]. To inform us of sundry truths that by way of 
inference may be deduced here. As, 

1. That it is no sufficient ground upon which any may 
conclude their state to be safe and good, that they live 
under the gospel: I pray consider it. It is not enough 
hereupon to ground a conclusion concerning your good 
and safe final state, that you live under tbe gospel. No, 
though you had apostolical preachers among you, for such 
these Corinthians had to whom this is with so much terror 
spoken. No, though you had angelical preachers, such as 
could speak to you, not with the tongues of men only, but 
of angels; for tlie Jews had that word before that was 
given to them as a gospel ; (as the Apostle takes notice, 
Heb. iii.) unto them was the gospel preached, as well as 
to us. And their gospel was called the law, as that whole 
revelation went under the name of the law : " They that 
have sinned without the law, shall perish without the law." 
In those days when the law was the more conspicuous part 
of it, they had it " by the ministration of angels, but they 
kept it not." Acts vii. 5S. Nay, though it were by the 
most divine preacher, our blessed Lord himself; " How 
can we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which be- 
gan to be spoken by the Lord himself?" Heh. ii. 2. even 
that gospel was preached by the Son of God himself, and 
as it was, so was an hidden gospel to many, and they lost 
souls under it. A man may perish as well under an hidden 
gospel, as under no gospel. And again, 

2. We are to infer. That the proper design. of the gospel 
is the salvation of souls. If the gospel be hid it is hid to 
them that are lost ; if it were not hid they would not be 
lost, that is plainly implied: but that which hath no de- 
sign or tendency to save would not save, whether hidden 
or not hidden. But there is no interveniency in this case 
to hinder a person's being saved by the gospel, but only 
its being hid : therefore that which would save souls if not 
hid, must have an aptitude and designation to this purpose. 
Here is nothing to hinder a soul being saved by the gos- 
pel if it be not hid : by this you learn therefore that the 
true and apt tendency and design of the gospel is, to save 

SER. XI.) Inferences therefrom. 161 

souls. How often is it called by names that signify so 
much ? " To you is the word of this salvation sent." Acts 
xiii. 22. " After you heard the word of truth, the gospel 
of your salvation." Eph. i. 13. " How can we escape if 
we neglect so great salvation, which first began, to be spo- 
ken r" Heb. ii. 3. What doth the words of this gospel 
speak .? — It speaks salvation. It is a great matter to know 
the gospel by its true name, and to understand it accord- 
ingly : to think what God hath sent among you, when he 
hath sent his gospel among you; and that which is its end 
and design, ought to be yours in attending it. The gos- 
pel would make great and glorious work (I doubt not) 
among us, if it were more generally come to this, that 
the true end of the gospel were our end, were con- 
vinced when we come to attend ; how would it confound 
many a one if they were to give an account of their end 
in coming to attend, and wait on the ministry of the gos- 
pel .'* I am going to such a place, such an assembly, such 
a church, such a meeting-house. Well saith one, and 
what are you going for? 1 am going to hear what such a 
man can say ; I am going to please my fancy and cu- 
riosity, to gratify my novel humour. God knows how few 
come to such assemblies with that temper of mind so as 
that they can truly say, being asked, He that knows all 
things, knows I go to look after the salvation of my own 
s6ul ; it is a gospel of salvation that 1 go to attend upon, 
and I go to attend upon it as such, on purpose that 1 may 
be saved, that I may in this way be working out my own 
salvation. But what an affront is it to the great and glo- 
rious Lord of heaven and earth to pervert the design of 
this gospel. What? Have men nothing to play with but 
sacred things: things that carry the stamp of the autho- 
rity and majesty, as well as the grace and goodness of Hea- 
ven upon them? Is there nothing else to be trifled with 
but things of that sacred and awful import? No wonder if 
the gospel be hid, and no wonder if souls be lost by multi- 
tudes at this rate. But again, 

3. We may further learn. That while a inan lives under 
the gospel, the great question that depends concerning him 
is. Shall I be saved, or shall I be lost? Here is the great 
question that depends concerning every one, and which 
they ought to recount with themselves over and over again. 
Here is this case depending concerning me; shall I be 
finally saved or lost ? Oh ! what an awful thought is this 
that every day that goes over my head, and every time I 



go to hear a sermon, still this question lies under conside- 
ration ; shall I in the issue, or end of iny course, be a saved 
or a lost man? Sure at this rate we should be working out 
our salvation with fear and trembling; nothing becomes 
us more, nothing is more suitable to the state of our case. 

4. We further learn hence. That men may be lost on 
this side hell. If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that 
are lost; hid before they reach hell, whither no gospel 
comes; and so lost before they reach thither. And then 
again, _ _ ' 

5. By parity of reason, Men may be saved on this side 
heaven, as well as they may be lost on this side hell. We 
know the great Emmanuel was otherwise called Jesus, be- 
cause he should save his people from their sins. If this 
blessed word hath taken effect upon thy soul, it is saved ; 
that is, it is so far saved now from sin, as that it go- 
verns now no longer. Its empire is broken, its throne 
is thrown down in the soul. Here is salvation on this side 
heaven : salvation is this day come to this house, to this 
soul, he is already a saved one. There is inchoate salva- 
tion ; salvation begun that ascertains consummate salva- 
tion, and from which that will not be separated. The 
New Jerusalem, that glorious city that comes down out of 
heaven from God ; Rev. xxi 4. (supposing that be meant 
of a state of the church of God on earth ;) the nations of 
them that are saved, walk in it. As soon as they enter 
into it, there they walk as saved ones. The nations of the 
saved, there they dwell, there they inhabit the city of 

6. They to whom the gospel is not hid are not lost, or 
are of these saved ones ; if they to whom the gospel is hid 
be lost, they to whom it is not hid are saved. They are in 
this state of salvation already. Oh! happy creatures and 
blessed state that you are come into. The gospel is no 
longer a hidden gospel to you, though it is to many a one 
beside. With what admiration may you say, " I thank 
thee, (Oh Father,) Lord of heaven and earth, that when 
such things have been hid from many a wise and prudent 
one, thou hast revealed them unto me!" Matt. xi. 24, 25. 
hast caused thine own bright light to penetrate, to strike 
through into my very soul, to shine into my heart, as it 
follows in this context: " And thereupon, though I was a 
wanderer, a stray and lost creature, thou hast sought thy 
servant, I went astray like a lost sheep ; seek thy servant. 

vSEK. XI.) Grounds of J nquiiy tilt'.' ej'roiii. ' 163 

for 1 do not forget thy coinnianduients." l*saiin cxix. 
last verse. Thou hast sought thy servant, and found him 
out. i\nd thou mayest say of thy soul, as tlie father of his 
prodigal son; *' This my soul was lost and is found." 
Luke XV. last verse. ^' We all went astray as lost sheej), 
and he bare the iniquities of us all," Isaiah liii. 6. that 
we might be recovered and saved at last. Oh you that 
find gospel light to enter into your souls, bless God, and 
admire! The gospel is not hid from me, 1 am therefore 
saved out of my lost state. 

But besides these inferences of truth, there is a further 
and another sort of use that I must proceed to. 

Use 2. It may be (upon what hath been before said in 
opening the doctrine of this text to you) some awakenings 
may be upon the spirits of some, perhaps some may have 
been in a going among us, and may say in their hearts. 
And what is likely upon all this to become of me.? What 
is my final state like to prove? Shall 1 be saved, or shall 
I be lost? I would fain give some help in this case, and 
would in order to it, lead such into some distinction of 
thoughts, that they may not be confounded in their in- 
quiry. Now this inquiry in general may be capable of 
being formed into three questions. Either 1st. The mean- 
ing of their inquiry may be, Shall I be certainly saved at 
last; or 2ndly. The meaning of their inquiry may be. 
How shall 1 do, certainly to know if 1 am certainly to 
be lost? or Sdl}'. I'he meaning of their inquiry maybe. 
How shall I evidence it to myself, or have it evidenced to 
me, that there is any thing of hope in my case ? That, 
going on in the use of prescribed and appointed means, 
things may be brought at length to an happy issue? That 
I may have such a present view of my case, as to judge and 
think of it, that it may be possible that I ma}' be saved at 
last ? 

1. Now as to the first of these questions, supposing it 
to be the question of any whom God hath begun lately to 
work on ; of any that he hath begun lately to awaken : — 
Then 1 must needs say to that question; Friend, you are 
too hasty, you make too much haste to think, that when 
God hath but newly begun with you, you should presently 
be at a certainty that you shall be saved. This may be 
more haste than good speed. When you have gone on a 
considerable tract of time in a serious endeavour of work- 
ing out your salvation with fear and trembling; and giving 
all diligence to make your calling and election sure, it will 

M 2 


be time enough to put this question then ; it is yet unsea- 
sonable for you. And then. 

2. Supposing that the next be the question with any. 
How shall I know that I shall be certainly lost? As the 
the former question is an unseasonable one, this is a vain 
one, altogether vain. If you shall certainly be lost, what 
can it avail you to know that you shall ? or do you think 
it is possible you should ever come to know it on this side 
being in hell? It must be by some revelation from God, 
mediate or immediate; but God doth not use to do vain 
things, to reveal any thing to no purpose: and this can be 
to no imaginable purpose. If you shall certainly be lost 
it can do 3'ou no good to foreknow it; and therefore the 
revelation of it is not to be expected from God any ways, 
mediately or immediately, and consequently it is a foolish 
vain question. But, 

3. If the question be. How may it appear that there is 
any thing of hope in my case, that in the use of the pre- 
scribed and appointed means, I may, through the grace of 
God, possibly be saved at last? This is a sober question, 
and becoming a serious and considerate man, and one that 
hath a value for his soul, and a reverence for God, the 
great Disposer of our everlasting soul's concernments. And 
therefore in reference to this I would be assisting the best 
I can, and as God shall enable me. And there are many 
things that are to be said to it. As, 

1. That you always ought to hope till there be most 
apparent reason for total despair. If there be not a reason 
for total despair, then you are under obligation to admit 
of some hope ; nothing is plainer, that a reasonable crea- 
ture, capable of futurity and of another state, he hath it 
as a law in his nature to use prospect, and to exercise hope, 
in reference to futurity. And I cannot but recollect a 
noted passage of that Platonic Jew, Philo Judaeus, " That 
hope towards God, in reference to men's future concern- 
ments, is of the very essence of man; and he is not to be 
called a man, a human creature, that hath not hope in 
reference to his future concernments." And there is a 
great deal in it: it is to be looked upon as somewhat else 
than a lavish expression, for God hath (no doubt) contem- 
pered the frame of all his creatures to their state: and 
having made man capable of futurity and eternity in another 
state; hope cannot but be an essentiating principle in his 
very nature. And therefore it is very unnatural and a 
doing violence to ourselves, to endeavour to take away all 

SKR. XI.) Grounds of Encouragement shewn. 165 

hope in reference to that futurity which is yet before you, 
and which you have yet in j)rospect. You ought to hope 
while there is no apparent cause of total despair; for what- 
soever doth not admit totallity, there must be somewhat 
of the contrary, by reason whereof it doth not so. There 
can be no imaginable ground upon which a man should 
not admit of a total despair, but as there is some hope. If 
there were no hope, despair would be total; if there be 
found hope, despair cannot be total. And it is matter of 
duty to you, always to entertain and cherish some hope 
when there is no apparent reason for total despair. That 
I fore-lay in the first place. 

2. There can be no reason for total despair while the 
gospel stands unrepealed ; while it is neither generally re- 
pealed, nor repealed particularly as to you. All that while 
the connection remains between faith in Christ and salva- 
tion: " God so loved the world, that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not 
perish, but have everlasting life." John iii. 16. While 
this gospel that makes this connection between believing 
in the Son of God and not perishing, not being lost, but 
being saved, stands unrepealed, we have no reason for total 
despair. Still if 1 believe, 1 shall be saved; if 1 believe 
in the Son of God, I shall live. 1 have been a vile crea- 
ture, it is true ; a great rebel, not only against the authority, 
but against the grace of God; and 1 have deserved to 
perish a thousand times over, and to be given up as lost 
without remedy. But the gospel is not yet repealed that 
saith, Whosoever believes in the Son of God shall not 
perish, shall not be lost, but have everlasting life; it is not 
repealed in general, nor shall be to the end of the world. 
And what? Will any man say it is repealed as to him ? 
It is repealed as to me? Pray shew that repeal! you can- 
not say that it is repealed as to you, unless you had a Bible 
reached down from heaven that saith, whosoever believeth 
shall be saved, whosoever believeth on the Son of God 
shall not perish, but have everlasting life, except John 
such an one, or Thomas such an one, or Elizabeth such an 
one. Shew me such a Bible that saith the gospel is re- 
pealed as to you ; though I believe never so much I shall 
not be saved, I am an excepted person. Where is the 
exception ? Shew me the Bible wherein is that exception. 
Aye, but you may say, it is very true, I doubt not, that if 
yet I believe 1 may be saved ; but alas! what reason have I 
to hope that I shall ever be brought to believe, ever be 

M S 


enabled to believe, who have resisted the grace of God, 
and the Spirit of God so long, so often, so injuriously, so 
insolently, as I have done? What hope is that I shall ever 
be brought to believe ? I add therefore, 

S. That there is not only hope, nay, I may say, ground of 
confidence, that if you believe you shall be saved, but there 
is also ground of very great hope, if you do indeed set your 
minds to inquire and consider about this matter, that you 
shall be brought to believe. For that is the head which I 
Jay down here as the third in order: that all the v/hile the 
command, the law, stands in force as to you, that obligelh 

J^ou to believe, all that while there is a ground and reason 
eft you to hope, that you shall be enabled to believe, when 
the evangelical law doth particularly oblige you amongst 
the rest that live under the gospel, to believe in the Son of 
God, that you may not perish but have everlasting life, as 
much as if there were a law made in your case alone. If 
there were a particular law made concerning you, and lay- 
ing the charge upon you — Do thou believe on the Son of 
God, that thou mayest not perish, but have everlasting life ; 
I say you are as much obliged to believe on the Son of 
God, as if there were a particular law made concerning 
you, and none but you, concerning you alone. This is 
the command of God, this is the law, '^ that we believe on 
him whom he hath sent." John iii. 33. It caiuiot be said 
that because there is such a law that obligeth you to be- 
lieve in Jesus Christ, therefore you certainly shall believe; 
but it is to be collected with the greatest clearness imagin- 
able, that there being such a law obliging you to believe, 
you have reason to hope you shall be enabled to believe if 
you do seriously design the thing. Is it to be thought 
that God should come (as it were) directly to you, that the 
Son of God should apply himself directly to you, sinner: 
I charge thee, accept my Son, believe in my Son, take him 
to be thy Redeemer, thy Saviour, thy Lord ; and that there 
should be no hope that ever you should do so, or that he 
■will give you any help in order thereunto? This is the 
most unimaginable thing in all the world. 

Question. But you may perhaps say, How shall I do to 
understand this, that I am under obligation to believe on 
the Son of God, that I may not perish, that I may not 
be lost ? 

Answer. To that I say, (that I may leave this a clear and 
undisputed thing in your thoughts,) either you must be so 
obliged to believe in the Son of God, to receive and take 

SEK. XI.) Doth not supersede our Duty. 167 

him for your's, your Lord and Saviour, or else, your not 
doing so is no sin. Now, where is that person that dares 
to produce himself, and say, I live under the gospel, that 
gospel is come to me, whereof this is the great funda- 
mental law, the command of the great Author of it^ even 
of the God of heaven; this is his commandment, that we 
believe on his Son : but it is a commandment tliat doth 
not oblige me? Where is the man that dares saj'. If I 
live an infidel under the gospel all the rest of my lime, 1 aui 
no sinner in it ^. If believing be not your duty, not believing 
is not your sin, but what ? . Is there any body that can say, 
or dare say, that to refuse Christ is not his sin ? Then to 
accept him is duty. Therefore doth this gospel, still as 
you live under it, urge it on you as a duty out of hand to 
come to an agreement with the Son of God ; resign thyself 
up to him, put thyself into his hands, and at his feet; into 
his hands to be saved, and at his feet to be subject, and to 
obey him. This the gospel chargeth on you; and while 
it doth so, while it calls you to repentance, and calls 3^ou to 
faith, you have reason to hope still ; 1 have God's warrant, 
why should I not expect his help ? If he calls me, why 
shall I not think he will help me, help me to repent, and 
help me to believe in his Son, that I may not be finally and 
for ever lost! And again, 

4. You can do nothing in your circumstances more 
pleasing and grateful to God than to hope in his mercy; 
thus to state your case, I am naturally a lost creature, a 
perishing creature, I have deserved to perish over and over ; 
that a Spirit of divine light and grace should never visit ray 
soul more, or look after me more, I have highly deserved 
it; but yet I have heard of the nature of God, that he is 
immensely good and gracious; his name hath told me his 
nature, " The Lord, the Lord God, gracious and merciful, 
long suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, pardoning 
iniquity, transgression and sin." Exod. xxxiv. 5. I will 
throw mjselfupon that name, I will cast myself on his 
mercy; I have nothing to do but that ; and that, why 
should I stick to do? Now, I say, you please him, you 
please him beyond all things that in your circumstances 
you are any way capable of doing. The Lord takes plea^- 
sure in them that fear him and that hope in his mercy, — 
pleasure in them! Strange that any act of an abject, 
guilty, impure, perishing wretch should be pleasing and 
grateful to the pure, holy, glorious, ever-blessed, God ; 
that he should be pleased with any act of mine. ^Vhy, it 

M 4 


is not as it is your's, but it is with reference to the object,, 
as it is a thing suitable unto him, a tribute due to his great 
and glorious name. It is the best acknowledgment you 
can make of his deity, of his godhead, of his most excel- 
lent perfect nature, comprehensive of all perfection, but 
wherein we are taught to conceive this as the most emi- 
nent, when we are told that God is love. Here is a poor 
cieature, as insolent as he hath been, (saith God,) as proud, 
as full of enmity and malignity against me, now 1 see he 
he comes to acknowledge me to be God, that is, acknow- 
ledgeth me to be merciful, infinitely, immensely merciful, 
bej^ond limits merciful, beyond expression merciful. He 
takes pleasure in them that hope in his mercy. Now (saith 
he) they give me my due, now they acknowledge me to be 
God, that they will yet hope in my mercy. Remember 
all this while that it is hope that I am encouraging you to 
without security; you have reason to hope, but you have 
no reason to be secure, no more than he hath who in a battle 
encompassed with thousands about him ahve yet, yet alive, 
but still deaths are flying about him as thick as hail. You 
have reason to hope, but no reason to be secure; but if 
you hope, you do the most grateful thing to God, you pay 
him the most pleasant grateful tribute that such an abject 
creature as any of us is capable of rendering to him : you 
give him the proper glory of the deity, boundlessly good 
and gracious, rich in mercy. This is to own him to be 
God, to own him to be infinite, to own that his ways do as 
far exceed your ways, and his thoughts your thoughts, as 
east and west, and heaven and earth, are asunder. Isa. Iv. 
8, 9. Again, 

5. Know that it is not for you to prescribe limits to the 
exercise of this mercy, it is not for you to set bounds to it. 
If God limit himself and any way signify that he hath done 
so, so be it; but that he hath no way signified. But it is 
great insolency for any of us to talk of limiting him; to 
say, so far the patience of God shall extend, and no further ; 
beyond such a sermon he will never give me one minute's 
addition to the day of grace. It is not for you to limit 
him; if he limit himself, you have nothing to say to that, 
but that he hath never told you he hath done, or will do in 
reference to your case. But I would have you to be pos- 
sessed with the apprehension how uncreaturely a thing it 
is for any of us to take upon us to limit God, and set a day 
to the exercise of his patience, his sparing mercy, his 
bounty, and his saving mercy. If you do rightly take up 

SER. xii.) No Ground fur Despair. 169 

this matter, you will understand, that there is in despair the 
highest presumption. There is not in any thing higher 
presumption than there is in absolute despair. If you 
allow yourselves absolutely to despair, and say, God will 
never look after my soul ; then nothing remains to me but 
to abandon it to perish. I say, you cannot be guilty of an 
higher presumption than doth he in this despair; for it is 
for you to take upon you to limit God, to measure God ; 
you take upon you hereby to determine what infiniteness 
can do, and what it cannot do. This is very bold pre- 
sumption. This is most uncreaturely arrogance; for you 
to take upon you to set God his limits and bounds. Ko; 
say I will always wait, and always hope, let him defer as 
long as he pleaseth ; but let me lie a prostrate creature at 
his foot, still in fears, and tears, and tremblings ; though 
it be till I perish, I will perish in this posture, rather than 
ever to say he cannot help me, he will not save me ; it will 
not consist with the limits of his patience and bounty to- 
wards a poor wretch to save me. Take heed of saying so» 
There is high presumption in this despair. 
There are many other things behind. 


2 Corinthians, iv. 3. 
But if our Gospel be hid. 

We have the use in hand of this terrible word ; sundry 
inferences of truth we recommended to you from it; and 
proceeded to other uses, wherein the design was to speak 
suitably to the case of awakened souls among us, that have 
made known their case, and their solicitous sad thoughts. 
We have had regard to this great inquiry. What shall we 
do that we may understand our own case, and how matters 
are like finally to issue with us ? — Shall we be saved, or 
shall we be lost? And several things were spoken to that 
which we stated as a sober question ; which answers were 
genera], and more fundamental to what was to ensue. 

* Preached April 26, 1691. 


And those things being forelaid, we shall now go on to 
give some characters that may be distinguishing some- 
what of the state of persons under the gospel ; so as that, 
if they be found, will give ground of hope ; if they be not 
found, it will administer much ground of fear. 

But here you must take the matter tims : that, for such 
characters as those which 1 shall mention, the discerning of 
them actually upon yourselves is never intended so to en- 
courage your hope as if no apprehension of danger should 
still remain ; you are not to hope without apprehension of 
danger; and if such characters are not found, you are not 
to fear without apprehension of remedy ; because (as hath 
been told you) the design is not to tell you who shall cer- 
tainly be saved, or who certainly lost; but only to shew 
what cause there is, or may be, of more or less hope or lear, 
in reference to the final issue of things with you. And so, 

1. It gives much ground of hope when any do find in 
themselves a formed desire of understanding distinctly the 
terms of life and death ; when any would fain know upon 
what terms they may expect to be saved or perish in the 
final issue of things ; when they do not desire to be unac- 
quainted with the true tenor of the gospel as touching 
these matters; but accurately to know what is required, 
that they may live, and escape the wrath that is to come. 
That hiddenness of the gospel that is in connection with 
the being lost, is with those with whom it hath this fatal 
event, a chosen thing, a voluntary thing; it is hid by an 
aflfected blindness of heart. Men are blind, as being un- 
willing to see, (Ephes. iv. 18.) " If thou hadst known, 
even thou, at least, in this thy day, the things that belong 
to thy peace ; but now they are hid from thine eyes." If 
thou hadst known; it is plain, that that not knowing was 
faulty, inasmuch as their being afterwards hid was penal; 
and it could not be faulty but as being voluntary,- that 
they did not desire to know the things of their peace; 
whoever of you can avow it before the great Searcher of 
hearts, and speak it to him as the sense of your souls, 
" Lord, thou that knoweth all things, knowesi that I do 
desire to understand what the tenor and import of that 
rule is l)y which souls are to live or die forever; I desire to 
understand it as it is,— not to have it disguised to me, — 
not to have it misrepresented, according as the foregoing 
expressions are ; wherein the a|)ostle protests against the 
disguising of the word, and clothing of things with spe- 
cious false colours; but approving and commending them- 

SER. xii.) Grounds of Hope suggested. 171 

selves in the manifestation of the very truth to every man's 
conscience in the sight of God. 2 Cor. iv. 1, 2. They (I 
say) that can avow this have ground of hope ; and they 
that would not have it so, they are persons to whom the 
gospel is hid, and are lost, as the series of discourse shews. 
You have much cause to hope God will drive things to a 
good issue with you at length, if you do seriously desire to 
understand his mind in the gospel, what it doth determine 
concerning the way of saving sinners; which, if they take, 
they are saved ; if they do not, they are lost. When this 
is your sense, " For thy name's sake lead me and guide me; 
Shew me thy way, 1 would fain walk in thy truth!" But 
for such as desire only to have smooth things said unto 
them; and if the true doctrine of the gospel will be terri- 
ble; if it will look with an unfavourable aspect upon my 
vicious inclinations, — Let me never hear it. If any say to 
God, " Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of 
thy ways ;" (Job xxi. 14.) '^ Cause the Holy One of Israel 
to cease from among us." Isaiah xxx. 11. They sav to 
the prophets. Prophesy not ; we do not desire to have that 
bright light stand so directly in view before our eyes; Oh, 
might it cease ! Oh, might it disappear ! This is a dread- 
ful token ; a very dreadful token ; and if any, more than 
otiiers, are in danger of being lost under the gospel, these 
are the men. They that receive not the love of the truth 
that they might be saved, (their spirits could by no nieans 
comport witli the truth,) are given up that they might 
perish, — that they" might be damned." 2 Thess. ii. 10, 11. 

2- It is very hopeful where there is a great sense of remain- 
ing ignorance; when any do think very meanly of the 
knowledge that they have of those great and important 
things of God, that do concern souls so very nearly. Agur 
is brought in saying, " I am more brutish tlian any man, 
and have not the understanding of a man ;" (Prov. xxx. 2.) 
when there is a very humble, self-abasing opinion taken up 
and maintained of our own meanness, blindness, and dark- 
ness, the great imperfection and defectiveness of our know- 
ledge in the most needful things. This looks very hope- 
fully ; and on the other hand it is a very dreadful token, 
when any think themselves so wise that they need be taught 
no more. There is more hope of a fool than of such an 
one, that is wise in his own conceit ; he seems marked out 
for destruction, that thinks he is so well acquainted with 
all the great secrets and mysteries of godliness that he 


needs no further instruction ; and thereupon despises and 
hates it. *^ He that hateth instruction shall die." They 
are plain, peremptory words ; and nothing is in the nature 
of the thing of a more destructive tendency. As the mo- 
ralist said, Multi pervenissent ad sapientiam, S)C. many might 
have attained to wisdom if they had not thought they had 
attained to it already. So many might have attained to 
the saving knowledge of God in Christ, if they had not 
thought they had already attained. Again, 

3. It is a very hopeful token, when there is any percep- 
tion of knowledge growing in these great things ; when 
we can apprehend that light doth come in by the appointed 
means; that God hath shined into our hearts, as it follows 
in this context : " If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them 
that are lost ; in whom the god of this world hath blinded 
the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the 
glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should 
shine unto them :" but " God, who commanded the light to 
shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts." 2 Cor. 
iv. 5, 6. That is a sign then the gospel is not quite hid, if 
some beams of light be darted in, be injected. If you 
find there is an increase, it is to be increased with the in- 
crease of God," as the apostle's expression is, (Coloss. ii. 
19;) for this is divine knowledge that we are speaking of, 
the '' knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus 
Christ." And it is to them that do observe themselves a 
perceptible thing, and a thing to be perceived with plea- 
sure, when there is an increase. How grateful is the ap- 
pulse, the first arrival of any new beam of light, any new 
thought; when the mind comes to be more and more 
opened, and things let in upon it, which it is of concern- 
ment to it to understand and know. And do but consider, 
such of you as are more solicitous about the state of your 
case and what is like to be the final issue of things withj'ou : 
You have lived a considerable time under the gospel ; 
and. What, have you gained no acquaintance with the 
great contents thereof.'' There are many things discovered 
concerning the state of man by nature. Do you understand 
nothing of them ? Do you not know that he is a degene- 
rate creature, that he hath a blind mind, a corrupt, de- 
praved heart ? That he is wrapped up in guilt, and ex- 
posed thereupon to divine displeasure ? It reveals much 
of a Redeemer; Do you understand nothing of that ? — who 
this Redeemer is, the eternal Son of God, the brightness 
of his Father's glory, the heir of all things; that became 

SER. XII.) Grounds of Hope suggested. 173 

into this world, took human flesh, and died a sacrifice for 
sin? Do not you understand this? and that hereupon 
God is well pleased with him for his righteousness sake, 
that divinejustice acquiesceth, expects no higher, no other 
sacrifice ? — that, whereas there must be a great change 
wrought in the temper of men's spirits to make them capa- 
ble of the duty of time, and the felicity of eternity; an 
Almighty Spirit is obtained by the blood of that sacrifice, 
that it should go forth to do this great work upon the souls 
of men; so that you are not to be left hopeless, struggling 
in your own impotence to attempt and undertake (as it 
were) a new creation in your own souls; but that Spirit 
will be given to them that ask it, and you may draw in its 
influences as so much vital breath. These things the gos- 
pel acquaints you with ; and do you understand nothing 
of them ? Hath no light come in by all this discovery aJl 
this while ? Indeed it is a fearful token, where there is no 
knowledge by long-sitting under the gospel ; when any 
man's case doth admit it to be said of them, they are " ever 
learning, and never come to the knowledge of the truth ;" 
a sort of persons marked out for separation from God and 
all good men ; from such turn aside ; such as have a form 
of godliness, but deny the power of it; (2 Tim. iii. 7.) and 
are " ever learning, but never come to the knowledge of 
the truth ;" it is a people of no understanding, " therefore 
he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he 
that formed them will shew them no favour ;" (Isaiah xxvii. 
11.) for, (as hath been said,) ignorance under the gospel, of 
that it hath made necessary to be understood, and done in 
order to salvation; it is most voluntary, and therefore 
comes to be punished by the gospel's being hid, and their 
being lost, if they finally prove to be so. And again, 

4. It yet will look well and hopefully, if you find that 
you have a real value for the gospel ; if you esteem highly 
of it; if you consider it as the *' word of life," as the gos- 
pel of your salvation ; and if such notions as are given you 
of it, and under which you are taught to conceive of it, 
have recommended it to you, and you look upon it as a 
sacred and venerable thing ; if you do not come to hear a 
sermon as if you were to hear a story told you ; to hear the 
word of God as a tale that is told ; but the word of it re- 
commends itself to you as a majestic thing, as carrying a 
divine stamp and impress upon it ; if you be in any measure 
awed by it, so as to tremble at the divine word, — this is a 
most comfortable character where it can be found. It is 


towards such that God is looking with favour, when any 
come and sit trembling under his word. He will not look 
with slight and despising eyes upon such; he looks upon 
them with indulgence and a favourable regard. (Isaiah Ixvi. 
2.) and you may look upon it, that he is in the way with 
you, while you find that disposition in your own spirits 
towards his word. That he may reckon, I will speak to 
such, and not be disregarded in what I say. If there be not 
so pleasant a relish of divine truths ; if yet there be an awe 
of them : though they do not appear amiable to you, if yet 
they appear awful and majestic; and you consider, when 
you attend upon gospel dispensations, you have to do with 
divine things ; and you consider the word that you do hear, 
not as the words of men, but as they are, indeed, the words 
of God ; there is hope in this case : this hath a good aspect, 
looks promisingly towards a good issue. But when the 
gospel itself is looked upon as a contemptible thing, as 
much regard would be shewed to a fable; this is of most 
dreadful import ; when the very means of our salvation is 
come into contempt with us, as they that in a dangerous 
sickness are brought to despise the only proper remedies 
that can be thought of, as capable for recovering them^ and 
saving their lives, this is a dangerous token. Again, 

5. It looks hopefully, if you find that the intention of 
your mind is much engaged in hearing the word ; it is a 
natural consequent of your having awful thoughts of it, of 
your esteeming highly of it as a divine revelation ; that 
which should be immediately consequent hereupon must 
be a very earnest intention of spirit in hearing of it, to 
attend it as that wherein my very life is concerned ; the 
word saith, " Hear, and your souls shall live." (Isaiah Iv. 3.) 
Thereupon you must say, I will hear, that my soul may 
live. If this be your design in hearing, it is very hopeful 
indeed, that you are not likely to be lost under the gospel. 
If this be the temper of your minds, I come to hear that 
my soul may live; and so you watch every word; you ob- 
serve and bend the strength of your minds, as much as in 
you is, to attend and listen to what you hear ; as the eyes of 
the assembly are said to be fastened on our Lord when he 
took the book of God, and expounded and opened it to 
them. Luke iv. 20. But if there be no attention in hearing ; 
if persons come to such assemblies as these to see, or help 
to make a shew only, to see a reed shaken with the wind. 
If this be your errand, you come to please your fancy, or 
you come because you do not else know what to do with 

SBR, XII.) Grounds of Hope suggested. 175 

so much time ; you do not know how to employ an other- 
wise waste hour, and therefore go to this or that church or 
meeting, (as it happens,) throw yourself in here or there ; 
this is of very threatening import. If this temper of mind 
should continue with you, it looks as fatally as any can be 
thought ; that a man will be lost under that gospel at last 
which he never regards, to which he gives no attention. 
It may be, you are not at leisure, your thoughts are other- 
wise taken up ; as it was with Ezekiel's hearers, " They 
sit before thee as my people," (Ezek. xxxiii. 31.) and 
with their mouths they shew much love, (with their coun- 
tenances they do, they carry the appearance and shew of 
those that come out of love to my worship, and to exercise 
devotedness to me;) but their hearts go after their cove- 
tousness ; their heart was wandering all the w^hile. I do 
not speak, in this case, of the incursion, the surprising in- 
cursion of vain and unsuitable thoughts, the wanderings 
wliich we sincerely bind and set ourselves against, and can- 
not totally hinder ; but I speak of letting our spirits at 
liberty to wander, keeping them under no restraint, letting 
our thoughts rove for such an hour or two together, when 
we are to be attending to things that concern the life and 
death of our souls. This is a very dismal token, where- 
soever it is to be found. If it be thus usually with any, 
none more likely to be lost under the gospel than such. 
And again, 

6. It looks hopefully, if, so far as you have understood, 
and, by earnest attention from time to time, come to know 
the true meaning and import of the gospel, and what the 
terms of life and death for souls really are ; you do there- 
upon desire to have your hearts wrought up to those terms ; 
and there is no wish entertained with you, that you give 
harbour to, that the tenor of the whole gospel were other- 
wise than it is ; you do not desire that the terms of life and 
death should be brought down to a compliance with your 
inclinations ; but you desire your hearts may be wrought 
up to them ; and say. Do not make me a gospel like 
myself, but make me like the gospel. Is that your sense .'' It 
looks very encouragingly; I would take this gospel just as 
it is ; I find it requires the receiving Christ Jesus as a Sa- 
viour and as a Lord ; I am willing it should be thus ; I do 
•not desire there should be any change to gratify any ill 
inclination of mine in this tenor of the gospel. I find it 
forbids all manner of sin; and reigning sin, under the se- 
verest penalty ; that wherever it reigns it dooms too. I 


submit to this state of the case ; I desire to have every 
thing of sin down, not to be in dominion. It may be, 
there are some fainter desires of this kind having place 
where a real thorough work is not yet wrought. But it is 
well there is so far a tendency towards it; that you are 
right in your aims and designs, and that you have the true 
mark before your eye ; that is, to have the great and pro- 
per impression of the gospel inwrought into your souls, and 
they made agreeable to it; and that you do not wish to 
have a gospel formed on purpose to be more agreeable to 
you. When once a soul is transformed into the likeness and 
image of the gospel ; this is it that doth most certainly 
characterize it for heaven and eternal glory. You have 
" obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was 
delivered unlo you/' (or into which you have been deli- 
vered, as that may be read. Rom. vi. 17.) this is to have 
that " fruit unto holiness" habitually first, the end whereof 
will be ''eternal life," as it follows in the same chapter; 
and while you are aiming at this, and tending to this, the 
matter carries a very hopeful aspect with it. As on the 
other hand, it is very dreadful, when that, whatsoever wit 
and skill any have more than others is all employed this 
way, to wrest and torture, and mis-shape the rule by which 
their present practice is to be measured, and by which 
God's final judgment is to be measured concerning them. 
When the gospel is not to transform you, but you to trans- 
form the gospel; you would not be shapen according to it, 
but you will fain shape it according to yourselves, accord- 
ing to your own hearts ; nothing doth look more like one to 
be lost and perish under the gospel than this. And, 

7. Whereas, that gospel by which you are to be saved, 
(if ever you be saved,) is a gospel of reconciliation; it is a 
very hopeful character if you do really desire and value 
friendship with God ; if his love and favour be of real 
value with you ; when you can speak this as the sense of 
your souls, " In his favour is life ;" (Psalm xxx. 5.) which 
you must understand did not only hold forth the truth of 
the thing, but the sense of a good man, a well-minded man 
concerning that truth. It is very true, indeed, that, if you 
consider the thing itself, objectively taken, in the favour of 
God stands the life of every one ; but this doth not only 
speak the truth of the thing, but it speaks the sense of a 
good and honest heart ; that he accounts that in the fa- 
vour of God stands his very life. And, do you really ac- 
count so ? — so as whatever you have to enjoy in the world 

SSR. xiT.) Grounds of Hope suggested. 177 

besides that, cannot satisfy you, if your hearts yet hang 
in doubt within you concerning your state God-ward. It 
is not corn, and wine, and oil, that you wish for, and can 
satisfy yourselves with ; but, " Lord, Hft thou up the light 
of thy countenance, and that will put more joy into our 
hearts than when corn, and wine, and oil increase!" Oh, 
there can be no worse character, than when it is a matter of 
indifference with any, whether God have a favour for them, 
or no favour! His friendship and his enmity is all one to 
them. Under a gospel of reconciliation, how likely are 
such to be lost, when the very end of this gospel of recon- 
ciliation between God and them is a disregarded, despised 
thing ; when men can go all the day long through the hurry 
of their affairs and businesses, and their thoughts are fifled 
and taken up with vanity and with impertinences, in com- 
parison, hut no room is left for one such thought through- 
out a whole day. How stand things between me and hea- 
ven? Am 1 under the divine favour, or disfavour ? How 
fearful was the case of those Israelites, when they had, at 
the same time, meat in their mouths and wrath upon their 
heads? God " gave them quails for their use, and they 
did eat, and the wrath of God came upon them while they 
were eating;" (Psalm Ixxviii. 30, 31.) " On the wicked 
he rains snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tem- 
pest;" (Psalm xi. 6.) " He is angry with the wicked every 
day." (Psalm vii. 11.) They that concern not themselves 
about any such matters, it is rfll one to them. Give me 
what will please m^- appetite, sense, or flesh, and let God 
be pleased or displeased. I am willing to run the hazard 
of that. This looks very fatally, when it is so. 
And then again, as consequent to this, 

8. Truly, fear itself doth give much ground of hope. 
It is a very hopeful character upon you, when you are 
really afraid lest a controversy should still depend, and not 
be taken up between God and you : '' Blessed is he that 
(thus) feareth always." Prov. xxviii. 14. And so it is, on 
the other hand, a very black character, where there is no 
such thing. He that hardeneth his heart against such fear 
siiall fall into mischief. And again, 

9. Where there is much consideration about the affairs 
of your souls, and your hearts are much taken up in musing 
and meditating on these matters, it is an hopeful sign. An 
unconsidering soul is a perishing soul, — hath the character 
upon it of a lost soul. But if your mind be full of thoughts 
from time to time; or, if there be many limes when you 

VOL. viu. N 


can set jourselves on purpose to consider the state of your 
souls; and your case God-ward, this looks very hopefully ; 
that is, that God is at work with you, that he is dealing 
with your spirits ; for you are not to assume it to your- 
selves that there are any such good thoughts, any which 
have that [tendency, which have that look. " We are not 
sufficient to think any thing as of ourselves ;" (2 Cor. iii. 5.). 
that is, which is good. Indeed, one ground why many are 
so apt excessively to torture and disquiet their spirits with 
the apprehension of an irrecoverable lost state, is from too 
much arrogance; that is, they are apt to arrogate to them- 
selves such things, which, upon reflection, they cannot 
deny are in them ; for you must know there is common 
grace that leads to special. If it hath not reached up to 
special, it hath a tendency and ieadingness thitherward. 
If God be dealing with spirits by his common grace, it 
looks hopefully if it be comported with ; and when thoughts 
do throng in from time to time with you, that you cannot 
do as the most do, that is, throw away all concern about 
your souls, as it may be the generality, so far as you have 
opportunity to observe, trouble not themselves (as you can 
discern) with any thoughts at all, what shall become of 
them hereafter. But there have been such thoughts which 
have been struck in as so many darts and arrows into your 
hearts. You are not to think that you have been the authors 
of them to yourselves, but that God is at work with j'ou, is 
dealing with you, is in the way with you; and thijs (I say) 
looks hopefull}', if it be duly comported with. And yet, 

10. It is a very hopeful, encouraging character, if you 
should find upon consideration that you have arrived no 
farther, and that you have not gotten to a firmer, more 
settled state in holiness and walking with God, yet you 
do also find a great disposition in yourself to self-accusing ; 
that you are apt to criminate yourself, to find fault with 
yourself, and to lay load on yourself with blame ; to wrap 
up yourself (as it were) with shame ; that your profi- 
ciency hath been so slow and little all this while. This 
looks very hopefully ; when this is the sense of your souls, 
looking in, and looking up at the same time, "^ God be 
-merciful to me a sinner!" The publican's character was a 
good character, and an hopeful one, compared with the 
opposite one of the Pharisee. Luke xviii. 13. The Pha- 
risee and the Publican both go up together to the temple 
to pray ; the Pharisee hath nothing to take notice of in 

SEu. xfi.) Grounds of Hope suggested. 170 

himself but his good deeds, (and verjr pitiful ones diej 
were ;) '* 1 fast twice in the week; I give alms of all I pos- 
sess ;" I pay " tithes, mintj anise, and cummin ;" (we are 
toJd elsewhere they punctvially paid these tithes ;) " I am 
not as other men, nor as this Publican." The Publican 
hath nothing to say ; but, standing at awful distance, cries 
out, " God be merciful to me a sinner!" And the Publi- 
can (it is said) "went home to his house justified rather 
than the other." Such as are full of self-accusing thought, 
they live with perhaps too tormenting fears concerning 
their state Godward, yet there is that of intermingled 
good witli it that leads towards a good issue at length, and 
which carries a plain indication, that they are not to look 
upon their state as a lost state. And, especially, 

11. If there be any relentings towards God, any tender 
relenting and self-bemoaning. There may be self-accusing 
without these kindly genuine touches of remorse that there 
should be ; and there may be of them too, and in too low a 
degree, and in too transient a manner. But while there is 
any thing of them, there is real ground of hope that God is 
dealing with you, and is likely to carry on the work fur- 
ther, according as you duly comport with him in what he 
hath began, and is yet doing, " 1 have heard Ephraim 
bemoaning himself." Jer. xxxi. 18. Refer that to what 
goes before, and you will see there is " hope in their end," 
*^ I have heard Ephraim bemoaning himself;" — things are 
like to have a good issue yet, though he hath been way- 
ward, cross, perverse, and rebellious ; yet, let me listen to 
him; Do not I hear him bemoaning himself? — " [have 
surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself, and secretly 
saying. Turn thou me, and I shall be turned, for thou art 
the Lord my God.'' There is hope in the end, as to this 
case. It looks as if it would have a good end at last, A 
heart hard as a rock under the gospel, is a dreadful thing ; 
the impenitent heart, the heart that cannot repent. And 
I add, lastly, 

12. If there be yet a resolution to persist, to go on in the 
way that leads towards life, this looks well ; you have 
not yet attained ; you are not yet at a certainty ; but yet 
you are resolved to go on, to hold on your course according 
to that warning given by good Samuel to the people of 
Israel, that were now set a trembling, and in a most dread- 
ful consternation, what would become of them ; they 
dreamed of nothing, when God thundered upon them, and 
when the lightning from heaven testified divine displea- 

N 2 


sure; they, I say, thought of nothing but destruction. 
Well, (saith Samuel,) do not you, for your part, " turn 
aside from following the Lord ;" he will not cast you off if 
you persevere in your way, and turn not aside from fol- 
lowing him. He will not cast off his people, because it 
hath pleased the Lord to make them his people ; he will 
cast off none that do not first cast off him. And many 
such, too, he may recall and recover; but while there is 
a resolution with you, come of it what will, I will never 
forsake the holy way ; I will spend my days in prayers 
and tears : 1 will never give over waiting and seeking, what- 
ever comes of it. Oh ! what an emphatical benediction is 
that we find pronounced in this case ! " Blessed is the man 
that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at 
the posts of my doors ; for whoso findeth me findeth life, 
and shall obtain favour of the Lord." Prov. viii. 34, 35. 
There is a blessing upon all waiting ones. Pray, take that 
blessing home, whosoever of you are yet trembling ones, 
suspenseful ones, — you that have hearts full of doubt, you 
know not what will become of things with you ; if there be 
that resolution to wait and persist in a known prescribed 
way of duty, he that so doth, hath a blessing pronounced 
from the God of his salvation ; there is a blessing over his 
head from the God of his salvation, to shew you how little 
liable he is to the heavy doom of being irrecoverably lost. 
That God, who glories in the title of the God of our sal- 
vation, he is breathing down a blessing upon you all, while 
that you are resolved upon a course of waiting; I will wait 
till I die; " I will call upon him as long as I live ;" I will 
never give over following him, let him do what he will 
with me. This is the course that is never likely to have 
an ill end. 

SBR. xiii.) Suggestions by Way of Warning. 181 



hut if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. 

We are, upon the use of this, and the last we insisted 
upon was of inquiry ; or, we intended therein to assist their 
inquiry who may be solicitous touching the state of their 
own case, whether they are not lost irrecoverably while 
they live under a gospel that aims at the saving of souls, 
but which they apprehend doth them no good, and they 
fear never will. I have in reference to such, the last time, 
given sundry characters that will bespeak their state upon 
whom they are found, not to be hopeless ; that it is such, 
as concerning which they ought by no means to conclude 
that they are lost, that they are out of the reach of mercy. 

And, as to what thereupon remains, I have only this 
further to do, that is, to lay down two conclusions, in 
which I shall sum up much of the meaning of what hath 
been said ; that is, 

1. That there can be no hope that their state shall be 
good and safe at last, who continually live in the neglect 
of those methods which the gospel they live under pre- 
scribes in order to their salvation. And, 

2. That there can be no ground for them to fear they 
shall be finally lost, who, with dependence on the grace of 
the Spirit of Christ, are resolved, to their uttermost, to 
use the methods which the gospel doth prescribe in order 
to salvation. The one sort have, in their present state, no 
reasonable ground to hope ; the other, in their present 
posture, have no reasonable ground of despairing fear. 
These two conclusions sum up what I would leave with 
you upon this subject. And thereupon I shall say some- 
what : 1. By way of warning; and (if that will not do) by 
way of lamentation to the former sort. And, 2dly, some- 
what by way of exhortation and encouragement to the 

1. As to the former, I must repeat it to them, that they 
have no ground for a present hope that they shall be saved,^ 

* Preached, May 10, 1691. 
N 3 


in the continued neglect of those means and methods which 
the gospel hath prescribed for salvation. And I would 
recommend to such, for their warning, those plain and 
awful words, " Work out your own salvation with fear 
and trembling, for God worketh in you to will and to do 
of his own good pleasure." Phil. ii. 12, 13. There is an 
injunction with the reason of it, and both the injunction 
and the reason have their distinct parts. As to the injunc- 
tion, there is the substance of it, with its modification. And 
the enforcing reason thereof hath in it considerable too 
of the substance thereof, and its modification, each of the 
latter corresponding with each of the former: Work you, 
why? for God works: do you work with fear and trem- 
bling, for God works at will and pleasure. You have rea- 
son to work, because God works. You have reason to 
work '' with fear and trembling," because he works under 
no obligation, but at absolute liberty, so that he may 
desist when he will. If you resist, if you withstand, if you 
' work not in subserviency, in subordination to his gracious 
work, he may retire and leave you to perish when he will ; 
he works at will and pleasure, therefore do you work with 
'* fear and trembling." And since we find the Scripture 
doth speak after this tenor, here and in many other places, 
*' Strive to enter in at the straight gate/' — " Give diligence 
to make your calling and election sure," — " They that run 
in a race, run all, but one obtains the prize ; so run that 
you may obtain :" as if he should say, Do you so run as 
if yon were the only person in all the world that should 
be saved, and yon might be that one; that is, as if you 
did know, that but one person in all the world should be 
saved, and jou might be that one. *' But one obtains the 
prize ;" i*un as though there were but one that should be 
saved, and that you may be that one. Since, (I say,) this is 
the tenor of Scripture in reference to the great affairs of 
our salvation, or that we may not be finally lost under this 
gospel; there can be no present hope, no ground for a 
present rational hope for them that do counterwork these 
stated methods that God hath prescribed for the saving of 
souls. I will not say, that God will never reclaim you; we 
know not what boundless immense goodness, and the riches 
of mercy, that are with him, may do; — but, 1 say, yon 
have not a ground for a present rational hope; t4ie way 
you are in takes hold of hell, and leads down to the cham- 
bers of death. You are in the way to perish. Such as 
have determined within themselves they will continue in a 

SEn. xiii.) Suggestions by Way of Warning. 183 

sinful endeavour of pleasing their flesh, and in a sinful 
neglect of saving their souls, and will admit no thought 
that tends to their disquiet, and to cross them in their sin- 
ful course; but they live under the gospel. They (l say) 
that do so conjoin with the profession of the gospel the 
contempt of it, are never to expect that they are to be 
saved by the gospel they despise ; or that the grace of it 
shall save them, while the authority of it doth not rule 
them. They have no reason to expect that. Therefore, 
if this should be the continued resolution of any, (I hope 
better things as to you, and things that accompany salva- 
tion, though 1 thus speak ;) but if this should be the con- 
tinuing resolution and posture of any soul, nothing re- 
mains but to lament their case. 

I would take up a lamentation for such, and invite all 
that are serious to join with me in lamenting the wretched 
forlorn state of such as are perishing upon these terms. 
Sundry things concur to give us here the representation 
and prospect of a most dismal and deplorable condition; 
a stake that doth even claim and challenge from us to be 
lamented; that we lament, while all endeavours of reme- 
dying it seem still frustrate and in vain. Why, 

(1.) Such are perishing under the gospel; that is, they 
are benighted at noon; they have created to themselves an 
horrid darkness in the midst of a bright and clear day ; — 
they are lost in a da}' of salvation. This is the day of sal- 
vation ; it is so (it is to be hoped) to many others; and, 
oh, what a fearful thing it is to be lost, and perish amidst 
a company that are taking hold of salvation, or of whom 
salvation is taking hold ? And, 

(2.) They are the more fearfully lost, not only under the 
means of salvation, but by them ; gospel light strikes them 
blind : '* this is the condemnation, that light is come into 
the world, but men love darkness rather than light;" the 
sweet vital savours of the gospel strike them dead ; become 
to them the " savour of death unto death." They are so 
much the more miserably lost, by how the more there is 
of apt and suitable endeavours used in vain for the saving 
of them. The blessed God opens to them the design he 
hath in hand of saving sinners; he hath sent his Son with 
direct cpplication to them, " to seek and to save them that 
are lost;" his Spirit strives with them, and against all its 
motions, all its convictions, they are breaking their own 
way to eternal ruin. How dismal is the case, to think that 
they are so often invited, yet are lost ; warned, and yet 

N 4 


lost! lost! Exhorted, and yet lost! Besought, and yet 
lost! Wept over, and yet lost! They descend, and go 
down and perish under the intreaties, and against the pray- 
ers and cri^s of friends and relations, and of such to whona 
their souls are dear even as their own souls. And again, 

(3.) It is to be considered that it is their souls that are 
lost. This is the subject of the loss. Ah, poor wretch ! 
if thou liadst only lost an estate ; if thou hadst only lost 
an eye ; if thou hadst only lost a limb, a hand, a foot, a leg, 
an arm, here had been either some remedy, or some relief 
for this loss; but to lose a soul, an immortal spirit; to 
have that precipitated and plunged into an eternal ruin, — 
what reparation, what remedy for this loss ? And, 

(4.) Such are lost when they never thought of it, or, it 
may be, when they had the positive thought all the while 
of being saved ; when they speak peace, peace, to them- 
selves, sudden destruction, a surprising destruction, comes 
upon them. Wast thou not wont to say, I shall be safe in 
m^ neglect of God ? 1 shall live a prayerless life, and be 
safe ? 1 shall live a vicious life, and be safe ? I may please 
my flesh, and gratify my sense all my days, and be safe ? 
Are they not wont to think so? They perish when they 
think not of it ; they are ingulphed and swallowed up in an 
unfeared ruin ; sunk the worse, and so much the more 
dreadfully by much the less it was dreaded, the more fear- 
fully the less it was feared. And, 

(3.) It is very deplorable, in their case, to think of the 
companions that they have been formerly associated with, 
and that they are associated with now. Such as have been 
companions with them in exercises of religion, such as 
have been companions with them in acts of wickedness, 
and such as are now companions with them in torments, 
fearful aggravations of their being thus lost, arise from 
such. Those that they have been wont to hear sermons 
with, and that they have been associated with in the 
drunken debauches that have drowned all the remem- 
brance of them. Those that they have been with (it may 
be) under convictions, under some good impressions ; and 
with them in those acts of wickedness that have stupified 
their souls, and bereft them of sense, and abolished and 
obliterated all the impressions that were made on them 
before. What heightenings will here be of the woe ! — 
what inforcement of the torment of that state, when the 
vrretched partakers therein together shall fall to mutual 
upbraidingi, criminations, and recriminations of one ano- 

SER. XIII.) Suggestions hy IVai/ of IVarning. 185 

ther! — when one shall say. Oh, cursed be the day that ever 
I saw thy face; and the other shall retort, and sa}', Oh, 
cursed be the day that ever 1 saw thine ! — that we who 
did sometimes pray together, and sat under the word of 
God together, could encourage and heighten one another 
to that pitch of wickedness, to be sensual together, de- 
bauched together, vain together, drunken together, 
wicked together, in affront to all that light that shone in 
our faces, and that shone in our very consciences ? And, 
(6.) What a mighty addition will it make to be perpe- 
tually reflecting, in that state wherein thou canst not 
chuse, canst not cease to be an everlasting companion 
to thyself? — when one is to be but his own companion, as 
he iiath made himself very ill company to himself, he 
cannot but be much worse in the infernal state, when 
there shall be an everlasting self-consciousness of former 
wickedness and present resentments that cannot be 
avoided, and against which it is impossible his soul should 
now be able to fortify itself. Oh, the pitiable state of 
going down to perdition with an enlightened mind ! Con- 
sider that. Think of it over again. The pitiable state 
(I say) of going down to perdition with an enlightened 
mind ! To descend witii rational principles in a man's 
soul, which by how much the less heretofore they did 
serve for government, do so much the more effectually 
now serve for torment ; — that light that did not govern, 
did then condemn, and doth now torment. The clearer 
the light the more fervent the fire, when that light turns all 
into flames, and tormenting flames ; so much the more light, 
so much the more the fervour of that flame. To reflect in 
that cursed society, that every man shall be to himself his 
own cursed companion in the place of torment, upon the 
rational principles that he had admitted, understood, and 
assented to before ; and to think then how very reasonable, 
(oh, how very reasonable !) were such sentiments as these, 
often inculcated on me in my former state, that a creature 
can never have been made to be his own end ; that it 
could never be supposed that a reasonable, intelligent, 
immortal spirit was principally designed to serve a piece 
of clay ; that a religion, that could never suffice to govern 
a man, would never suffice to save him ; that that which 
doth not sufficiently distinguish one from a wicked world, 
shall never distinguish him from a perishing world. How 
often have such things as these been inculcated ! and who 
sees not the reason of them now ? But when they shall be 


revived in the future state, in that state wherein the 
wretched creature finds liimself finally and irrecoverably 
lost, how will the light of all these rational principles 
glare in his face ! Then what a stupid foolish creature 
was I that could not consider these plain things before, 
when I saw how plain they were ! When one shall reflect 
and bethink himself, How often was I told that that religion, 
which should end in felicity, must begin in transformation ! 
If it shall make my soul happy hereafter it must change 
me now, it must have changed it in the former state; it 
must have implanted the love of God in it, — it must have 
inwrought into it the prsetnordial principles of the divine 
likeness, otherwise the temper of ray own soul must banish 
me from the divine presence, and associate me with devils 
and damned spirits, throughout a long eternity. How 
often did I hear these things ! How plain were they, and 
unanswerable! How impossible to oppose any thing to 
the light and evidence of them ! These are things wherein 
the gospel doth recommend itself to the very consciences 
of men that sit under it, as the foregoing words speak, " we 
commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight 
of God." They have done so, who have spoken to you at 
this rate, and about such things as these. If such a gos- 
pel be hid ; if the things contained in it, that carry so con- 
victive cogent light and evidence in them ; if these things 
(I say) be hid, what can the issue be but to be lost? And 
how terrible will that be ! How dreadful must the case 
be, when any find themselves finally lost, and to have 
nothing to do in a vast immense eternity, but to revolve 
these plain convictive thoughts in their own wretched 
minds! And again, it may be added, 

(7.) What an additional weight of misery will there be 
.from reflecting upon those that were companions with 
many such in their former state, and did take the right 
and safe way, and persisted and persevered in it to the end ! 
What tormenting resentments will arise from the thoughts 
of such ! To think of such and such an one, we have gone 
to the assemblies together, we have sat together under the 
same sermons. It may be such an one was convinced, 
and so was I ; perhaps we compared thoughts with one 
another; the convictions with such and such issued in a 
thorough work. Such and such an one being convinced 
did shut up himself in secret; he wrought out the matter 
in prayer with the blessed God. The thing issued at length 
in a solemn covenant between him and the Redeemer; he 

SER. XIII.) Suggestions by Way of iVarning, 187 

gave lip his soul, infolded in the bonds of an everlasting 
Covenant, into his hands who is the great and only Saviour 
of souls. And why did not 1 do so too ? We have had 
the same warning ; " M}' son, when sinners entice thee, 
consent thou not." Pro v. i. ]0. Oh, why did he take 
warning, and why did not 1 ? Why did he pray, and why 
did not { .'' Why did he covenant with God, and why did 
not I .? Why did he say, God should be his God, and I 
would never be brought to say it .? And why was he 
true and stedfast to that covenant, but I was false and un- 
steady .? And, 

(8.) How will it wound to think how near the matter was 
to a determination the other way, at some particular junc- 
ture of time; sometimes, when I was deliberating, the ba- 
lances seemed to hang even, and I was just upon resolving 
the safe and happy way ! O wretched creature that I wasl 
what came into my mind that I should recede and revolt, 
and fly back when 1 was urged to it, to come just now to 
a closure with God in Christ : Accept and resign ; take him, 
and give up myself? What madness possessed me, that, 
when I was just going to do it, I did it not? What 
plucked me back? Oh, to think how very light matters 
turned the scale! the other season of sensual delights; 
this and that vainly to be tried once again ; less than a 
feather cast the balance against my God and my soul, and 
my eternal well-being; what will these things do in an 
eternity, when a man hath no other employment for his 
thoughts? And, lastly, to think, 

(9.) That 1 took him for my adviser whom I might easily 
have known to be the destroyer of souls, and against whom 
1 know to be the Saviour of them. The counsels that come 
- from our blessed Lord and Redeemer, and the temptations 
of the wicked one, they carry their own differences so 
manifestly along "with them, that nothing could have been 
easier than to have discerned and perceived the difference ; 
whose was the voice in the one, and whose in the other ; 
whose language was now spoke, and whose language then. 
How easy is it to discern the difference when there are 
suggestions thrown into the mind, '' Soul, take thine 
ease," pursue thy pleasures, admit of no disturbing dis- 
quieting thoughts ; what were thy faculties made for but 
to be gratified and indulged ? And when it is on the other 
hand said, Thou dost not know how long thou shalt live; 
thou hast no command of another breath ; thou art to 
make no boast of to-morrow, for thou dost not know whe- 


ther ever thou shalt see a to-morrow. " Seek the Lord 
while he may be found, and call upon him while he is nigh j" 
turn to him while he invites thee to turn, and while thou 
mayest turn and be accepted. How easily are these voices 
distinguishable! But for a man to have given himself up 
to be led captive by Satan at his will, so as he hath no other 
will but the devil's will ; it is the devil's will I should neg- 
lect God, 1 should forfeit my soul, and throw off all 
thoughts and cares about my eternal concernments ; and 
he hath signified his will in such and such temptations. 
Oh, that a man should be so infatuated as to comply with 
the known will of the devil, who is a murderer from the 
beginning; a liar, and a destroyer of souls; and that 
against him who is love, and kindness, and goodness itself, 
and the Redeemer and Saviour of souls ! If there be rea- 
son to apprehend there are any sitting under the gospel ; 
under its daily teachings, solicitations, warnings, and 
counsels ; that will yet perish in their own way, till they 
finally perish, if they will perish unreclaimed, let them 
not perish unlamented ; let us throw tears over ruining and 
perishing souls ; follow them with lamentations to the 
brink of the pit, though we cannot save them from preci- 
pitating themselves into it. 

2. But I must change my voice, somewhat turn my 
style, and apply myself a little to that other sort, such as 
are full of solicitude lest they should at length perish and 
be lost under this gospel, as having it still an hidden gos- 
pel to them that hath never done them good, and that they 
are afraid they never shall be the better for. I must re- 
peat to such, that, in the way of your duty, and while with 
dependance on the grace and Spirit of Christ you are re- 
solved to comply with the prescribed methods of the gos- 
pel, you have no cause to fear you shall be lost; you 
have as little cause for that fear as the others have for their 
mad presumptuous hopes. I must leave some things witb 
such, the more fully to convince them of this. As, 

(1.) You are in the present way of salvation ; the way you 
are in hath a good tendency ; it looks well : it looks to- 
wards a good end; it hath a pleasing aspect with it: never 
fear you shall miscarry while you are in this way ; it is the 
way of life, and the way that tends to life ; that is, there is^ 
life in the beginning of it, and the further any one makes 
progress in it, the more and more he penetrates into the 
regions of life. There is a continual tendency to life in 
that way ; that is, as any do persist and go on further, they 

SER. XIII.) Suggettions by Way of Advice. 189 

do come into fuller and fuller vitality, till they arrive to 
the present fulness thereof, for eternal life ; and the incho- 
ate life of this present state, are both of a-jiiece. There 
are some previous essays tending to life that you are under 
the present seizure of, even now, while you are looking 
heaven-ward, looking God-ward ; it is somewhat of life, or 
of preparatory workings that have that tendency, and that 
cognation have taken hold of you, because that it is plain 
such thoughts are internal, and so are the springs of an 
internal motion ; and there is no internal motion, or from 
within, which is not to be looked upon as a kind of vital 
motion ; though it is true, indeed, there are fainter begin- 
nings that are extinguishable, yet there is a great matter 
to have some beginnings; for if they are yet such as are 
extinguishable, they are yet also such as are improveable, 
and may rise and come higher, till they come beyond the 
sphere and verge of common grace, into the verge of spe- 
cial grace, which two spheres do very closelj' border and 
touch upon one another ; and he that is upon the extremity, 
the extreme verge (as I may speak) of common grace, is 
often upon the very verge and brink of special grace. And_, 
(2.) As you are in the way of God, a way that hath a good 
look and tendency, God is in the way with you, it cannot 
but be; but that he is with you, and will be with you, 
while you are with him ; you find him with you; you are 
to impute it to his being with you, to his presence with 
you, that there are inclinations and dispositions that tend 
heavenward, that tend towards that good and blessed state. 
*£ou are to take heed of arrogating any thing in this kind 
to yourselves. Suppose it be yet but common grace, — 
common grace is grace; and if it be grace, it is not nature; 
it is not to be attributed to you, — you are not to arrogate 
and claim it to yourselves ; This is of me. The thinking of 
a good thought, we have not a sufficiency for, as of our- 
selves ; we are not to claim that : and there is many a good 
thought that may be short of saving grace; but we should 
take heed of assuming it to ourselves; and therefore, if 
there be inclinations and dispositions towards that way, 
and towards that state which you are to design for, and 
professedly bending your thoughts towards, yet say, you 
have a divine presence with you ; for these things are to 
be ascribed to him. All such previous workings and dis- 
positions, you must say, they do all lay claim to a divine 
author ; suCh a wretch as I must lay claim to nothing 
that hath any the least appearance of good in it. And, 


(3.) You are to consider for excitation and encourage- 
ment jointly, that this is the proper state of conflict wherein 
now you are ; your present state is a conflicting state. 
You are with great and earnest contention of spirit to 
make your way to heaven and eternal life; it is the busi- 
ness of the state wherein you are; a state of probation, and 
a state of preparation for a final eternal state, liesolve 
upon doing suitable to your state. And consider, 

(4.) That it will not last long. The time of trial will soon 
be over; rest, and enjoyment, and rejoicing, and triumph, 
will ensue. Conflict and fidelity therein to the death. En- 
tertain yourselves with such pleasant words as those which 
have come from that mouth into which, and by which all 
grace is poured, " He that endureth to the end shall be 
saved." Matt. xxiv. 13. '' To him that overcometh shall 
be given to sit on my throne, as I have overcome, and am 
sat down with my Father on his throne." Rev. iii. 21. 
'^ He that overcometh shall be a pillar in the house of my 
God, and shall go no more out." Rev. iii. 12, " To him 
that overcometh shall be given the new name in the white 
stone, which none knoweth but he that hath it." Rev. iii. 
i7. " He that overcometh shall be fed with the heavenly 
manna. And he that overcometh shall inherit all things." 
Rev. ii. 17. Strive and labour now as one that designs 
and expects to overcome ; and never fear you can be lost 
in so doing. It is unreasonable to fear a being lost in that 
only method which is prescribed for salvation. For, what ? 
Do we think the blessed God hath prescribed inaptly, un- 
suitably, vainly, and with no accommodation or subser- 
viency to the design for which he hath professedly pre- 
scribed it? And again, 

(5.) As that which should excite you greatly, consider 
that the contest is for your souls ; it is for eterual life ; 
there is no giving out so long as you can say I am on this 
side eternity, my life is yet whole in me ; I have this spirit, 
this soul, that was infused by the Almighty, yet in me ; I 
am never to throw away this soul so long as 1 have it ; so 
long as I find this spirit is in me, that inspiration of the 
Almighty that first gave me understanding. I am never to 
abandon this soul ; and it is abandoned if you should throw 
away all hope; you can do nothing for your souls if there 
be no hope ; despair binds up all rational endeavours. There 
is not one step more ever made, in order to salvation, after 
it becomes totally despaired of; that is an actual partici- 
pation of hell. You put yourself into the infernal state 

SEE. xni.) Suggestions Itj/ Way of Advice. 191 

too soon, and without warrant, while you have no pretence, 
no ground for it. Why should a man devilize himself, when 
God hath not done it? He doth distinguish your state 
from that of devils, why should you make it the same with 
them ? There is no such thing as praying in hell; no such 
thing as supplication for mercy, or expectation of it; no 
possible expectation. Why should a man turn his present 
state into a final state, and that which is so accursedly 
final. Your present state is in order to another that admits 
of no change, and which can refer to none beyond it. And 
consider, too, 

(6.) That your business lies with God, who is pleased to 
make himself known by most sweet and pleasant titles, — 
''^ The God of all grace," — " God who is rich in mercy ;" — 
and by such a name as, " The Lord, the Lord God, gracious 
and merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and 
truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, though he 
will by no means clear the guilty ;" that is, those that will 
have none of his mercy ; they that by impenitency and infi- 
delity bind down their own guilt upon their own souls, he will 
never clear them; but he is most ready (even from what he 
saith to be his nature) to receive returning souls, complying 
souls, those that are willing to take his way, and fall in 
with his methods ; otherwise he must forego his own 
name, and no longer be called gracious, merciful, abun- 
dant in goodness. Will you not believe him when he pro- 
tests and swears by his own life? "As 1 live, saith the 
Lord, I desire not the death of a sinner, but that he return 
and live. Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die, oh, house 
of Jsrael ?" Do you think that God trifles with men, when 
he bespeaks them at this rate ? Do not these words carry a 
signification with them, the most pleasant, the most em- 
phatical that can be thought, to any soul that is inclined to 
turn to him ? They import nothing of encouragement to 
those that will not turn, or to them that securely and resol- 
vedly go on in the way of their own hearts, otherwise than 
- as they do still invite their return : but supposing 
no returning disposition, there are other words that 
speak the mind of God towards that other sort of men. 
" He will wound the hairy scalp of them that go on still in 
their trespasses." Psalm Ixviii. 2L " He is angry with the 
wicked every day." Psalm vii. 11. " He rains snares upon 
them, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest. This 
is the portion of their cup." Psalm xi. 6. " It is a fearful 
thing to fall into the hands of the living God." So here- 

192 The gospel being hidden 

presents himself towards them who are resolved to continue 
the contest with him, and will rush upon the thick bosses 
of his buckler." Job xv. 21. But if any will take hold of 
his strength, and make peace with him, they shall make 
peace. Isa. xxvii. 4, 5. Fury is not in him, but though 
he can easily, as a devouring fire, burn up briars and 
thorns, yet if any will take hold of his strength, and make 
peace with him, they shall make peace. This is God-like, 
this is suitable to his present nature, every way suitable to 
the perfection of the Deity. Consider with what a God 
you have to do : you have no cause to fear having to do 
with such a God, as will not let you be lost and perish 
finally : you have no cause to fear that he will, when you 
find in your heart a disposition to comply with him, and a 
desire to do so; fain I would do so, fain 1 would be what 
he would have me be, and do what he would have me do. 
It is a blasphemy against the divine goodness, against the 
very nature of God, to suppose that he will throw away a 
soul that so inclines towards him. And, 

7. It is against the express word of Christ to suppose 
that he will let such a soul be lost. '^ Come unto me all ye 
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 
Matt. xi. 28. " He that cometh unto me, 1 will in no 
wise cast out." John vi. 37. And what? Will you not 
believe him ? What cause did he ever give you to disbe- 
lieve him? To whom did he ever shew himself guileful, 
or apt to deceive? He that came into this world, full of 
grace and truth, how horrid is it to take up a suspicious 
thought of him ! And lastly consider, 

8. That it is not only contrary to his word, but it is con- 
trary to his nature and design to let such a soul miscarry, 
be lost and perish in his sight, and under his eye, that de- 
sires to comply with the methods that he hath prescribed 
in his gospel. It is against his nature, his nature is ex- 
pressed by the divine name which is in him ; " My name is 
in him," as we are told by God himself, concerning Christ, 
the great Angel of the covenant. Exod. xxiii. 21. " Pro- 
voke him not, for my name is in him." And what is God's 
name? The Lord, the Lord God, gracious, — as you heard 
before. My name is in him, that is, my very nature is in 
him, whereof that name is expressive. 

And it is contrary to his design for what ? Do you think 
he came on purpose into this world to save sinners, and 
yet to let them be lost, when they are willing to take his 
prescribed way, and comply with his methods ? How can 

SER. XIII.) Suggestions hy Way of Advice. 193 

it be so ? Wliatj is he not true to himself? Doth he not agree 
with himself? consist with himself? Hath he forgotten what 
he died for, what he took human nature for, and what he 
hung upon an ignominious cross for? All the difficulties 
he had to contend with for the saving of souls are all over- 
come and over already. He is to be scourged no more, 
buffeted no more, crucified no more, to be in travail for 
souls, and in agonies under the divine anger no more, he 
hath done all that was toilsome, laborious, and pain- 
ful, borne all that vvas grievous and bitter; he hath no- 
thing now to do but what is pleasant work, to emit the 
influences of life and grace to craving and desiring souls: 
and so he will do, if the desires of our souls be indeed to- 
wards him ; he cannot forego himself, and quit his own 
design; he was so intent upon that design of saving, as to 
run through the greatest difficulties imaginable, all the 
terrors of death, and all the powers of hell and darkness 
could not stand in his way ; no, he would make through 
them all to save souls. Will he then let yours be lost, 
when you are crying after him, and reaching towards him, 
to put yourselves into the hands and arms of his saving 
mercy ? It cannot be. 

And so as I have shewn how reasonable it is to hope, I 
shall (God willing) the next time take a text on purpose 
to shew you how necessary it is to hope, that as from what 
has been said, you may understand somewhat of the ground 
of hope in this case, (for you are not to hope without 
ground,) so you may understand somewhat of the great 
importance of hope in it too. 1 shall therefore next (God 
willing) make it my business to shew of how mighty influ- 
ence hope is, towards bringing about that great work 
which is to be done upon souls, in order to their eternal 




ROMANS VJll. 24. 

We are saved by hope. 

I DID let you know the last time, that I intended to 
speak on these words ; that as I had shewn you what 
ground there is of hope for solicitous, awakened souls, that 
they shall not finally be lost; so they might from thence 
see of what importance it is to them to hope that they shali 
be saved. Their very salvation itself depends very greatly 
upon their hope of it. If there should be any here (which 
God forbid f) to whom salvation itself is a little thing, the 
hopes of it cannot but be less. If there should be any 
with whom it is inconsiderable, and who do not use to trou- 
ble their thoughts with any such matter, whether they be 
saved or not saved; the hope of being saved cannot with 
such, but by consequence, be very inconsiderable ; a thing 
that will weigh very little with them. 

But for such whom God hath awakened, and made to 
bestir themselves, such as are afraid of perishing, and to 
whom destruction from the Almighty is a terror, such 
whose hearts tremble within them, to tliink of any possibi- 
lity or hazard that they may yet be lost under a gospel of 
salvation ; to such (methinks) these words should carry a 
grateful reviving sound. 

And as they must be supposed to have this their wont, to 
revive this great question upon their minds, and be at it 
upon their hearts; What (oh what !) shall I do that I may 
be saved ? Methinks it should be grateful to them to have 
so apposite and present an answer to their question, — why, 
you are to be saved by hope. The hope of being saved 
must do something to save you. 

We know by common experience, that hope is that 
mighty powerful engine, which moves all the intelligent 
world, and rules and governs the whole frame and course 
of rational nature every where ; so as that no design is 
driven on, no undertaking ever set on foot, but as men are 

* Preached May 17, 1091. 

SER. XIV.) llie Introduction. 195 

influenced, and led on by hope. In reference to any thing 
whereof they have no hope, they sit still and do nothing. 

And as it is so in reference to common aflairs, it would 
be proportionably so too, in reference to the affairs of our 
salvation, if this great engine, which is planted in the very 
soul of every man, were but rightly and duly managed and 
turned this way. And so much the more effectual it must 
be, and work with so much the more energy, by how much 
the more its ground is better and tirmer, in reference to 
those affairs tliat do relate to our souls, and to our final 
salvation. God hath set no such connection between the 
most earnest endeavours and answerable success, with refer- 
ence to external and secular affairs. He hath given men 
no ground to be confident, that if they labour to be rich, 
they shall be rich; if they labour to be great and honourable 
in the world, they shall be so : but he hath given sufficient 
ground to be confident, that no man that seriously mindeth 
and manageth the affairs relating to his salvation, shall be 
lost. Therefore, whereas in reference to other affairs, hope 
is the causa sine qua non, here it is the causa due qua non et 
cum qua ; that is, in reference to other affairs, hope is the 
principle, without which nothing could be done or at- 
tempted ; but in reference to those affairs that relate to our 
final and eternal well being, not only the attempt, but a 
good issue, will ensue upon the use of a true hope. 

And that is it therefore which I design to insist on from 
this scripture; That is, to shew you, (which you must take 
for the ground of oui:, discourse,) 

Doctrine. That whosoever are finally saved, are saved by 
hope. And in speaking to this I shall shew, 

1. What this hope is, of which this is said. 

2. What influence it hath towards our salvation. 

1. What this hope is. It would be a very useless thing to 
discourse philosophically to you about hope in general; 
which every one doth better understand by feeling, by the ^ 
sensation he hath of it in his own mind, than he could do 
by the most accurate definition of a philosopher. It is 
easy to be collected what hope in general is, by considering 
the nature of man, and his present state, in comparison 
with one another. The nature of man makes him covet 
to be happy, and he finds his present state admits of no ♦ 
such thing; whereupon hope is that passion which must 
of course arise from such a complexion of the rational 
nature, and such a state of the common case of men. " It 
is that passion of the soul, by which It reacheth forth itself 

o 2 


to the uttermost, in the pursuit of somewhat that appears 
to be good, and likely to better its state, and that is attain- 
able, possible to be attained, but not to he attained without 
difficulty." This is hope in general. 

But when w^e have this account of hope in the general 
notion of it, we are yet to seek of what hope this is said, that 
^- it saves, that we are saved by it. We are sure this is not 
' universally true of all hope. There is much hope in the 
world that signifies nothing to men's salvation; yea, much 
that signifies a great deal to their destruction. Many are 
not only lost, notwithstanding their hopes, but they are 
destroyed by them: they might have been safe and happy 
if they had had no such hope. 

i\nd therefore, what this hope is, concerning which this 
is said, we are more narrowly to inquire: and we do not 
find that the text itself doth suffice to give us a distinguish- 
able account of it. It doth not assign its proper characters; 
it describes it no way, but only by its remote final issue, 
— We are saved by it. 

But since it is manifest that all hope doth not save, and 
that much hope doth destroy, it is sufficiently intimated to 
us, that there must be somewhat very particular and dis- 
tinguishing in the nature of that hope, to which this effect 
is ascribed, when we are told we are saved by it. It is 
intimated to us, that there is an hope that is saving. We 
must consider in what sense therefore hope may be said to 
be saving. It is in a twofold sense that hope may admit 
to have this said of it, in opposition to such hope of which 
it cannot be said. 
^ 1. i^s salvation hath a certain connection with it. There 
is an hope with which it hath a certain connection ; a hope 
true at first, and which therefore continues, and which being 
continued, doth terminate upon salvation, and takes hold 
of it, as all of apiece with it. ** Gird up the loins of your 
minds, and he sober, and hope to the end, for the grace 
that shall be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus. 
Christ." 1 Peter i. 13. When we are there told of " re- 
ceiving the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls ;'" 
verse 9. and are told of " them that believe, to the saving 
of the soul ;*' Heb. x. last verse ; we find this believing,, 
or that faith, described in the very next words, Heb. xi. 
1. "to be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence 
of things not seen ;" so that faith and hope (we may shew 
you hereafter with what difierence) have their exercise 
upon one and the same objects, till they actually end in 

SEU. XIV.) IVhat saving Hope is. 197 

salvation, with which therefore they have a firm and imme- 
diate connection; even as a thing hath with itself; as that 
which is begun, and is yet imperfect, has with the same 
thing having arrived to its consummate and perfect state. 
But then, 

2. Hope may be said also to be saving, not where it 
hath an immediate connection only with salvation, but 
where also it hath a leadingness and tendency thereunto, 
though that effect may not certainly ensue. And accord- 
ingly there must be a twofold hope. There is an hope 
that we are to reckon an effect of the Spirit of holiness, a 
real part of the new creature, a divine production in the 
soul. '^ The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace 
in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power 
of the Holy Ghost." Rom. xv. 13. There is such a hope 
as that; and there is also a rational human hope, which 
may have its exercise about the same thing, about the 
same final object, and ahout many things that lie interme- 
diate thereunto, as means for the attaining of it; and which, 
being assisted by the common grace of the Spirit, may end 
in the former hope, and consequently in salvation. Now 
it is the former hope that must be aimed at, and for this 
latter hope it is neither to be rejected nor rested in. It is 
not to be rejected. — A rational human hope, as such, when 
it is employed about divine objects, while we have no more 
in us, if any have nothing more, yet in him; this he ought 
not to reject, nor ought he to rest in it by any means; but 
labour to cherish it as an improvable thing, as that which 
by the influence and operation of the Divine Spirit falling 
in, may be heightened and raised up into that which shall 
be certainly saving hope; or the hope that shall be in im- 
mediate next connection with salvation. And both these 
are very distinguishable from the hope that hath no ten- 
dency to save, but hath a most direct aptitude in it to 
destroy, ruin, and undo souls for ever. They are both of 
them very distinguishable from that. And to speak a little 
more particularly, I shall therefore here, 

1. Shew you what hope it is that hath not this tendency, 
and is not like to have this end of saving. And, 

2. Then shall shew you what it is. 

1. What hope is not saving? It is not that which is 
quite wrong and false, both as to its object, and as to its 
ground ; or in reference to the one or the other of these. 
Take them distinctively, that hope which is wrong, either 

o 3 


as to its object or as to its ground, is none of the liope 
tliat hath any tendency to the saving of us. 

I. If it be wrong as to its object, its material object, the 
thing we hope for; if that be quite ahen, and of another 
kind from the business of our salvation, and final felicity, 
it can contribute nothing thereto: all that hope wherein 
'the minds of men do go besides the proper business, and 
run into things of quite another kind : it is plain that hope 
can do a man no good, in order to his being saved. That 
hope whereof the object is a worldly felicity, or prosperity, 
whether it be for one-self, or whether it be the felicity or 
prosperity of any party of men in secular respects, to which 
he hath thought fit to adjoin himself, and to make one 
with: this can signify nothing, it is plain, to the saving of 
him. " If in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we 
are of all men most miserable." 1 Cor. xv. 19- This hope 
doth not only not save, but it destroys, carnalizes men's 
minds, habituateth them to this earth, and transforms 
them into the image of it. And do men think to carry a 
piece of earth with them up into heaven, when that is all 
their hope terminateth upon, or is concerned about ? No; 
this is^so far from helping to their salvation, that it hurts 
and hinders all that can be. It is by such an inclination 
of mind as this, that men run themselves into snares and 
temptations, and come at length to be drowned in perdi- 
tion and destruction. 1 Tim. vi. 9- The root of all evil 
is that very desire that is twisted into this hope. And sup- 
pose it be a good state of things in this world, from any 
community or party to which they have adjoined them- 
selves, so as that their minds and hopes fly no higher, but 
only that things may go well with them and. their party, 
here in an earthly state. This signifies as little to final, 
eternal salvation ; yea, though the party and design be 
never so right with which any such have united themselves. 
It is very true, it is no unlawful thing, yea, it is an highly 
commendable thing, a praiseworthy thing, to have one's 
mind very much concerned and taken up about the pros- 
perity and success of a just cause, of a good and honest 
interest in this world, supposing these two things be pro- 
vided against. 

(1.) That we do not mind and employ our thoughts and 
hopes about tfeings of that nature finally and term i natively, 
so as to exclude the great things of the other world, and 
that last end that runs into eternity. An everlasting feli- 
city to ourselves and the church of God, wherein he is to 

SER. XIV.) JVhat Hope h 7iot saving. 19{> 

have out of us, and from all, his entire, complete, and con- 
summate glory. Supposing that the intention of our 
minds ^nd thoughts, and the exercises of our hopes about 
these temporary things, do not exclude and shut out their 
higher and more vigorous exercise, proportionably to the 
higher excellency of the things themselves, about these 
superior things. Supposing that in the first place. And, 

(2.) Supposing too, that we do not so mind such concern- 
ments, as thereby to debase and v»eaken religion. It is a 
very usual thing, and hardly to be avoided, and which is 
actually avoided (1 doubt) but by a few, where there is a 
complication of secular interests and religious interests, 
together with one another, so to let our minds be involved 
and run into the one as to look off from the other. And 
thereby in that very complication, religion suffers, 1st. A 
debasement; and 2nd. A defilement, an enfeeblement; it 
is made a weak thing first, and thereupon a feeble and im- 
potent thing. But how few are there in the world that do 
mind the concernments of it, in reference to the concern- 
ments of another world; and that do exercise their thoughts 
about its present concernments with an universalized mind, 
a truly enlarged mind, that takes in the interests of God 
and Christ as the main thing, and the interests of men as 
men, and of christians as christians, under a common no- 
tion? But how mean is it, and debasing to the spirit of 
a man, and how enfeebling to religion itself, when all the 
intention of men's souls runs about the little separate in- 
terests of this or that party, even as it is such, without con- 
sidering the reference of things to God and the Redeemer? 
It is this that hath made religion a mean, sordid, terrene, 
and earthly thing. A political religion is that which, of all 
things, [ cannot but consider with dread, according as I 
find verging, degenerating, and declining more and more 
into that". Let each orb be kept apart, and distinct from 
one another; and religion for the proper ends and pur- 
poses of religion, to refine men's minds, to bring them 
nearer to God, to make them capable of his converse and 
enjoyment, and to fit them for a blessed eternity. Let 
religion do its own work as such ; and let all secular con- 
cernments be only minded in subserviency hereto, as the\' 
serve to promote the interest of such religion, as is really 
worthy the name, and will do the work of religion. But 
in the' mean time, hopes that do fill the minds of men with 
thoughts about, whether their own private, or more com- 
mon and public secular affairs, so as to eat up the thoughts 

o 4 


of heaven, and to emasculate the strength and vigour of 
their spirits, that should work thitherward : all these 
hopes signify no more than a dream towards their salva- 
tion; and have no more reference to it, but to prejudice 
and to hinder our pursuit of it, and our final attaining of 
it. And, 

2. Suppose that hope be placed on salvation itself, (and 
certainly that hope must subserve to salvation, must 
be the hope of salvation, as it is called, 1. Thes. v. 8.) yet 
if the ground of it be wrong, it can signify nothing to this 
end. if a man hope to be saved upon no ground that will 
bear the burden of such an hope, or that can rationally 
support it. That is, 

(].) If men do hope in themselves, if they hope to be 
saved from their own worthiness, through the apprehen- 
sions they have, whether of their own excellency, or if it 
be but of their own innocency ; here is an hope that will 
betray them to perdition, while it is with them the hope of 
salvation. Or again, 

(2.) If they hope in Christ, but not upon his terms : many 
are very full of hopes that they shall be saved ; and confess 
themselves to be sinners, and pretend to despair of being 
saved for their own sakes, or upon their own account; but 
it must be for Christ's sake, and upon his account. But 
then they hope for it upon none of his terms : as if a man 
hope to be saved by Christ, without ever being made holy 
by him. " He that hath this hope, purifieth himself." 
1 John iii. 3. It must bean hope right first, as to its end, 
as to its final object : that is, an hope of seeing God as he 
is, and then right as to the way ; that is, of being made 
like him, as that which only can agree with such a vision, 
or make the soul capable of it. *^^It doth not yet appear 
what we shall be, but when he shall appear, we shall be 
like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one 
that hath this hope in him, (it may well enough be under- 
stood of Christ, to have reference to him,) purifies himself, 
as he is pure;" that hope, it will attemper the soul to the 
final object. It is exercised, and taken up about a state 
wherein men are to be like God, upon their seeing of him 
as he is; '* every one that hath this hope, purifies himself." 
It drains the soul from terrene dross, and from every thing 
that is defiling and impure : a man cannot converse with so 
glorious objects but by an hope that carries (as it were) a 
printive power and property with it; for it is by hope that 
we do enjoy the object hoped for at a distance. This [ say. 

SEK, XIV.) What Hope is not saving. 201 

cannot be, but that objects will impress their image, and 
beget somewhat hke themselves in the soul. The soul 
that is directed and carried, by the power of its own ex- 
pectation, to a continual converse with God, as him whom 
he expects to see as he is, and to be made perfectly like 
him, by the power of this hope, it will be growing liker 
and liker to him, and will be purifying itself as he is pure. 
But he that hopes to be saved, without ever undergoing 
any such change in the present temper of his spirit, he 
that hopes to be saved wiiliout ever being regenerate, he 
that hopes to be saved against the plain word of Christ, is 
so far from hoping upon his terms, that he doth hope 
against the terms which he hath expressly laid down in the 
gospel ; whereas he hath said in his gospel, " Except a 
man be born again," John iii. 5. except a man be regene- 
rate, born from above, (as the word admits to be read,) he 
can never see, or enter into the kingdom of God. Yet I 
will hope that 1 shall enter into that kingdom, and possess 
that kingdom, though I never be regenerate, though I 
remain the same man I was all my days. 

And whereas Christ hath said, ^'^ Except ye repent, ye 
shall all likewise perish," Luke xiii. 3. yet men will hope 
they shall be saved, though they never repent. And 
whereas Christ hath said, they that believe " shall not 
perish, but have everlasting life," John iii. l6. they will 
yet hope to be saved without gospel faith ; and that, not- 
withstanding the gospel itself so expressly saith, " He 
that believeth not shall be damned ;" Mark xvi. 16. '' he 
that believeth not is condemned already;" John iii. 18. 
'^ he that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him." 
John iii. 36. And whereas, again, the word of the gospel 
hath said that Christ will be the author of eternal salvation 
to all them that obey him," Heb. v. 9- men will yet hope 
that he shall be to them the author of eternal salvation, 
though they continually disobey him, and Jive in affronts 
to him, to his known laws, and the sceptre of his govern- 
ment ; and that, also, notwithstanding he hath so ex- 
pressly said that Christ will " come in flaming fire, taking 
vengeance upon all that obey not his gospel." 2 Thess. i. 8. 
Such as do hope for salvation by Christ altogether without 
ground, are never to think that that hope will save them, 
but betray them into perdition, or at length, be the very 
instrument of a self-destruction to them; their own instru- 
ment, and of their o\vn destruction. This is an hope that 
will never save, but will do more to destroy than to save 


tliem. That hope, that is first totally wrong in its object ; 
and, secondly, is altogether without ground, be the ob- 
ject what it will, yet it rests upon no ground that can sus- 
tain such an hope. But then, 

2. We shall briefly shew what the hope must be that 
hath this tendency to save ; hath (at least) a tendency to 
it. It must, 

(1.) Be an hope rightly terminated as to its object. As 
I told you before, it must be the hope of salvation, which 
is said to be that part of the spiritual armour, which is 
thought fit to be expressed by the name of an helmet. The 
lielmet is to defend the head. You all know the head is 
the seat of design, where projects are formed, where coun- 
sels are laid. Now no man (as you heard before) designs 
for that of which he hath no hope; that confounds all 
designs. If a man hath formed in his head never so spe- 
cious models ; when once any thing appears in view which 
shews the whole business to be impracticable, so as there 
is no hope of succeeding, all those models are confounded 
and lost ; there is an end of them. Therefore, there needs 
an helmet to protect the head, the seat of counsels and 
designs. And this is that which doth it, — '^ the hope of 
salvation." If there be a firm, well-laid hope of salvation, 
this keeps the mind clear, and in a composed posture, 
ready still for deliberation, and to contrive the way, and 
course, and method, that may best serve on the one hand, 
and to countermine whatsoever may obstruct, and hinder 
in the prosecution of it, on the other hand. This hope 
must have for its final object the divine glory and likeness, 
as that which we are to behold, as that which we are to 
bear, as that into which we are to be transformed ; as 
above in this chapter; '*' I reckon that the sufferings of 
this present time are not worthy to be compared with the 
glory that shall be revealed in us." And it is the hope of 
this that saves, taking in the other requisites, of which j^ou 
will hear more hereafter. So, (Rom. v. 1, 2.) *' being jus- 
tified by faith, we have peace with God, and rejoice in 
hope" — of what? — '' of the glory of God." The great 
thing that terminates this hope must be " salvation by our 
Lord Jesus Christ, with eternal glory." As the apostle 
conjoins the privative and positive expressions there; 
whereas, when there is no such conjunction, either put 
alone serves for both, when a man's hope is pitched upon 
this final term and end ; that (as was intimated before) 
draws his heart, and keeps it under the transforming influ- 

sER. XIV.) What Hope tends to save. 203 

ence of the object which the Divine Spirit accompanies. 
The Divine Spirit doth the transforming work, even at 
first, and progressively afterwards ; but it doth it by ob- 
jects, by glorious objects, by objects blending in the gos- 
pel. We are first changed, and continually " changed into 
the same image, from glory to glory ;" but it is " by the 
Spirit of the Lord." 2 Cor. iii. last verse. And then, 

(2.) This hope must be right as to its ground, as well as in 
reference to its object; and that can be nothing else but the 
covenant of God in Christ, — God in Christ to be appre- 
hended and closed with in a covenant ; or, as he is pleased 
to give a sinner the advantage of taking hold of him, as he 
hath brought himself under the bonds of a covenant. I 
will he such and such to you; ray Son shall be such and 
such to you, 1 engage in a covenant : it shall be so, if you 
take hold. Here is the only firm, secure ground of such 
an hope; and this is that which the soul actually must do, 
or must (at least) be actually designing to do ; and accord- 
ingly may its hope be either certainly saving, or have a 
leadingness and tendency thereunto, as was told you be- 
fore, li' the heart can bear record in the sight of God, I 
have taken hold of the gospel-covenant, and therein of 
God in Christ upon gospel-terms, my heart regretting no- 
thing of them ; but readily, and with good liking falling 
in with every thing ; then 1 have that hope in me, that, 
while it lasts, is a piece of salvation ; salvation and it are of 
a piece. 

But suppose I am not arrived to that pitch yet, that I 
dare avow it before the Lord, that I have come to such a 
closure; I am not sure of the sincerity of my own heart; 
yet, if this be the thing I design, 1 abandon all other hopes, 
and all other grounds of hope; and this is that I am aim- 
ing and driving at, to come to a sincere closure with God 
in Christ upon the terms of the gospel. 1 do not yet 
know whether I am come up to it fully or not ; but I am 
aiming at it, making towards it as 1 can. This, even this 
is saving hope, in one of the senses before explained ; that 
is, as having a tendency and leadingness to salvation ; and 
which, as it is not to be rested in till it come to a plero- 
phery ; so, nor is it to be rejected neither ; it is to be che- 
rished and complied with. God may make somewhat of 
this more trembling hope, though my anchor be not yet 
so firmly cast within the veil, or 1 do not know that it is ; 
while I yet abandon and renounce all other hopes, and look 
to be saved in no other way; and am aiming to be saved 


in this way, it is a good sign, for there can be no aim 
without some hope ; total despair throweth you off from 
every thing of endeavour, and every thing of design, for hea- 
ven and eternity ; gives 3'ou up to perish, and delivers you 
up to eternal perdition. But while you cannot say your 
hope is saving, as that which will certainly save 5'ou at 
last, yet it may be said to be saving while it is tending 
towards a state of salvation, and carrying your hearts for- 
wards towards that state. And this account, that is, that 
though you are not sure you have actually built upon the 
proper ground, yet you have the proper ground in view 
before you, and there you design to build, and you will 
build no where else. Why all this, while there is that hope 
- which hath a leadingness and tendency to salvation, and 
which ought to be cherished, that it may save. When it 
is so far (as hath been said) right, as to its object, and 
when it is so far designingly right as to its ground. This, 
in the one sense or the other, is the thing whereof the text 
speaks ; *' We are saved by hope." Then, 

2. The second thing is, to shew the influence that such 
hope hath upon, and towards salvation : and that would be 
very easy to shew you by representing to you what it 
is that is necessary to salvation ; or what are the certain 
characters of the saved ones. They do make a select com- 
munity, distinct from all the rest of the world. The na- 
tions of them that are saved, (as they are called Rev. xxi. 
24.) they are all gathered into that city of God; they 
make a very distinct community from all the rest of the 
world; and must be understood to be distinguished from 
them by that which is characteristical of them that are 
saved ones. And so the distinction must consist in 
something or other that doth notify them to be the subjects 
of salvation. If it doth appear that such an hope be neces- 
.sary to that, it must be concluded to be necessary to sal- 
vation too. That that is necessary for that which is ne- 
cessary for salvation, is itself too necessary to salvation : 
Causa causa est causa causati ; do but agree what thing or 
things are necessary to salvation, and if hope have a ne- 
cessary influence upon these things, it must itself be in the 
way to salvation also. And if it be productive of those 
things it will be productive of salvation too ; and not only 
be the cause without which salvation cannot be, but by 
which it will be. 

Now it is very plain that these two things are necessary 
to salvation : 

SER. XV.) How Hope doth save. 205 

1. Thorough conversion; the bringing of a person into 
a state of grace : — And, ' 

2. Continual perseverance therein unto the end. Both 
these are necessary to salvation. And if such hope as we 
have already in some measure described to you be neces- 
sary to both these, it must be necessary to salvation too. 
And that is it which, in future discourses, I shall labour to i 
shew you; that hope is necessary to conversion first, and { 
then to perseverance. The soul's conversion ; its turning to | 

./ God in Christ, itjs_wjth Jippe ; it is not the act ofades- / 
pairing soul; it cannot be; it is no more possible for a ' 
despairing man than for a despairing devil to repent and 
turn to God, and to close with Christ. I do not speak of 
the difference of the law; that signifies nothing in this 
case; but I speak in reference to the complexion of the 
mind and spirit; and in respect of that, despair would as 
much keep a sinful man from turning to God through 
Christ, as it doth an apostate devil. 



fVe are saved by hope. 

That which I proposed to do in discoursing to you from 
this passage was, 1st, to shew what hope that is of which 
this is said, inasmuch as it is apparently not to be said of 
all hope. There is an hope that will not save. There is an 
hope that will destroy ; and to that head we have already 
spoken. We have shewn you what hope it is not; and 
then have positively shewed you what hope it is, concern- 
ing which this is spoken, that it saves. And now, 

2. Our further business is to shew you which way hope 
doth operate towards salvation, or what influence it hath 
in order thereunto. We told you (entering on this head 
last time) that the understanding of this matter will depend 
upon our conceiving aright what is more immediately and 
certainly necessary to salvation ; for if hope will be found 
to influence such things as are of most apparent confessed 

* Preached May 24, 1691. 


necessity unto salvation, it will be then found to have a 
necessary influence on salvation too. If it be necessary to 
that which is necessary, it must be itself also necessary. 
And it must be somewhat in itself exceeding great, and so 
that needs all the suitable and proper influences imagina- 
ble to bring it about, that shall distinguish them that are 
saved from them who shall perish ; or, in short, the things 
that are more immediately necessary to salvation, must be 
understood to be very great things, and things that are 
not to be wrought at an easy rate, but which will require 
the help and concurrence of whatsoever may have an apt 
subserviency thereto; for the diff"erences of them that are 
to be saved from them that will be finally lost, must be 
understood to be fundamental to the eternal differences of 
heaven and hell. And think how vastly difterent are the states 
of men hereafter, vv^ho shall be plunged and sunk into an 
abyss of woe and misery to eternity, and of them who 
shall be eternally rejoicing and exulting in the highest and 
most perfect felicity and glory. 

There is the embryo of heaven and hell in the very hearts 
of men on this side both ; and therefore the differences must 
be vastly great, even here in this world, between them that 
are in a state of salvation and them that are not in that 
state. The inhabitants of the New Jerusalem, that comes 
down from heaven, they make up the community of them 
that are to be the saved ones, as was noted from that 21st 
chapter of Revelations, 24th verse : " The nations of them 
that are saved do walk in the light thereof." How vastly 
another sort of men, in all reason, are they to be from the 
rest of the perishing world, who are to be exempt from the 
common ruin, who, when the rest of the world must perish 
in vindictive flames, are to be caught up in the clouds, and 
meet their Redeemer in the air, and so be for ever with 
the Lord ! How vast (I say) must we suppose the difi'er- 
ences between these two sorts of men, when there is the 
seed, the very primordia of heaven and hell, the very be- 
ginnings of lieavea and hell, to be found on earth in these 
two sorts of men ! Therefore the distinction of the saved 
ones must be great and eminent from those that are not to 
be saved. 

And what is their distinction I have generally told you 
already. It lies in these two things : in thorough rege- 
neration, or conversion to God, by which they are brought 
into a good and safe state at first; and then, in their per- 
severance herein unto the end. 

SER. XV.) How Hope doth sate. 207 

1. They are such as are " born from heaven," — " from 
above;" and the expression (John iii. 3,4.) may as well be 
read " born from above," as " born again ;" they are an 
heaven-born sort of men ; a community of persons that are 
all of a divine family, — of the family of God, to be the 
sons and daughters of the Most High ; not by adoption 
only, as if their sonship were no more than a relative 
thing ; but by regeneration too, which is a real thing, and 
which makes an internal subjective change, the greatest 
that can be wrought in this world upon the subject where 
it hath place. By that regenerating impression on them 
they are turned to God; a divine touch upon their spirits 
inclines them to him ; and now they turn to him with all 
their hearts and with all their souls. By being turned 
they turn ; passive conversion and regeneration are the 
same thing. That turning influence by which the whole 
soul is brought about towards God, is nothing else but the 
regenerating influence that puts a new nature into them : 
for it is not a violent turn, but a spontaneous turn ; a turn 
from the inclination of that new nature that is now in 
them: and in respect of this communicated divine nature 
are they said to be " born of God," to be " children of 
the Most High ;" or otherwise (as the same thing is elip- 
tically expressed) " they are of God ;" — " we are of God, 
and the whole world lies in wickedness." 1 John v. 19. 

2. And being brought into this state, they must persevere 
in it. It is absolutely necessary that they do so : " he that 
endureth to the end shall be saved." Matt. xxi v. 13. "They 
that are born of God must overcome the world ;" which, 
indeed, some way or other, sums up all the enemy's power 
that they are to contend with ; for the great destroyer of 
souls tempts men by this world, and their own flesh is 
tempted by it ; so that, take one of that ternary of ene- 
mies, and j^ou take them altogether. They cannot be se- 
vered ; and he that is born of God must overcome these ; 
in overcoming one, he must overcome all of this ternary of 
enemies, these adversary powers ; and, overcoming, shall 
sit down with Christ on his throne, as he overcame, and is 
sat down with his Father upon his throne." They are such, 
as, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for honour, 
and glory, and immortality," till they actually " obtain 
everlasting life." Rom. ii. 7. And they are to continue 
believing, which sums up the whole of that duty which the 
gospel makes necessary to salvation, till they actually 
receive " the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls." 


1 Peter i. 9. " They must not be of them that dra\r 
back to perdition, but of them that believe, to the saving 
of their souls." Heb. x. last verse. 

Both these are of most absolute necessity to being saved. 
This is plain, and out of all question ; and they are neces- 
sary to salvation two ways, both of them, as in their own 
nature they do dispose and suit the soul for the heavenly 
state; both for the work, and for the felicity of it. If it 
were possible that one should come unchanged, uncon- 
verted, and unrenewed into heaven, what an exotic thing 
would he be there? He could have no business there; 
there is nothing there to be done that he could do ; there 
is nothing there to be enjoyed that he could enjoy. Sup- 
pose one in heaven, that were no lover of God, that can 
take no pleasure in the divine presence, that hath nothing 
in him of the divine image, what could he do there ? And 
if we could suppose the wisdom of heaven to do so inapt a 
thing as to admit him thither, to what purpose would it be? 
Therefore, upon the account of internaJ, subjective qualifi- 
cation, both these are necessary. 

1. There must be a new nature given, that such an one 
be regenerate, born of God, turned unto him with the 
whole heart and soul. And that there be a new creation 
raised up in him, to attemper and suit him to the heavenly 
state ; that is, that there be (as it were) the epitome of a 
new world, new heavens, and a new earth, in that soul 
which is designed for that blessed state above. A new 
creation is to rise up, which is to top heaven, to wit, to lift 
up its head into heaven, and a blessed eternity. That work 
is to be wrought in him that is a congenerous thing unto 
heaven ; " He that drinketh of the water that i shall give 
him, (saith our Lord,) shall never thirst; but the water that 
I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water, springing 
up into eternal life." John iv. 14. The regenerate frame 
and nature is so much akin to heaven, that in nature and 
kind they are not different things : and so there cati no 
man ever come into heaven, that hath not somewhat of 
heaven aforehand come into him. He must have the 
kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven, within him, 
which consists of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost. Rom. xiv. which are the very primordia of heaven ; 
righteousness, universal rectitude ; and peace, universal 
tranquillity resulting from most perfect and unexception- 
able order; and then joy in the Holy Ghost, that state now 
taking place, that consists of " fulness of joy, and plea- 

SER. XV.) Necessity of Perseverance. 209 

sures for evermore. Psalm xvi. last verse. All these toge- 
ther are inchoate heaven, and so must in the work of rege- 
neration and conversion, be inwrought into tiie soul to pre- 
pare and qualify it internally and subjectively for salvation 
or the heavenly state, which is all one. i\nd then, 

2. Perseverance is equally necessary upon the same 
account, and for the same purpose, under that very notion ; 
for, if it were necessary that such a thing should be, to 
qualify such and such as subjects for the heavenly state, it 
must be, for the same reason, necessary to continue and 
remain. This seed of regeneration must abide ; it must con- 
tinue even to the very last; for the soul is not qualified for 
the heavenly state by what it was ten or twenty years ago, 
but by what it is when it comes into it; when it comes 
actually to possess it, and partake of it. 

And then, both these are necessary, not only in the na- 
ture of the thing, as internal qualifications of the subject; 
but they are also necessary as things required by the tenor 
of the evangelical law of grace, which entitleth none to 
heaven but those that are regenerate ; those that are born of 
God; and those that, being so, do continue adhering and 
cleaving to him to the very end ; that is, those (as was said 
before) who do believe to the very saving of their souls. 

And you must consider here, that this second necessity 
of both these things, arising from the gospel constitution, 
or the constitution of the evangelical covenant, or the law 
of grace, it comes in this kind to supervene and to be su- 
peradded to the other; to wit, considering salvation at 
length as the effect of the gospel grant ; for it is not merely 
to be looked upon as a natural product, (though you say 
spiritually natural, or you mean so ;) it is not to be consi- 
dered under that notion, (though it is partly to be consi- 
d.ered under it,) but it is withal to be considered under the 
notion of a gift. '^ The gift of God is eternal life, through 
Jesus Christ our Lord." It is not a mere natural product, 
nor the product of the divine nature, the spiritual, the holy 
nature, that is wrought into the soul. It is not (I say) 
merely such a natural production, but it is to be consi- 
dered morally too, as the effect of a free donation. And 
being so a given thing, a tiling conferred, then it must be 
understood to be conferred upon the donor's own terms, the 
terms that he chooseth, that he is pleased himself to enact 
and appoint. And these terms are those terms which I 
have told you of already ; " except a man be born again, 
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God ;'* — " except ye 
VOL. viii. P 


be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot be 
saved ;" and (as was told you before) " he that endiireth 
to the end, the same shall be saved." And the righteous 
Judge of all the world, *' who will render to every man 
according to his works ;" (Rom. ii. 6.) " he hath deter- 
mined this, that to them that by patient continuance in 
well-doing, seek for glory, honour, and immortality," he 
will give " eternal life;" and for the rest, '* to those that 
obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation 
and wrath." 

So far it was necessary to clear to you the immediate 
requisites to salvation, these two summarily, conversion 
and perseverance. And now, hereupon, I am to evince to 
you, that hope hath an influence upon both these ; that a 
man would never turn to God if it were not from the influ- 
ence of hope; and that being turned, he would never walk 
■with God to the end, never cleave to God to the last, if it 
were not still from the influence of hope, 

I hope you have all so much of gospel-understanding 
with you as to think, that the asserting such and such 
a means as necessary, doth not make the end less neces- 
sary. We are not to suppose the end (eternal salvation) is 
less certain, because such means have a certain subser- 
viency thereto ; for he that hath appointed the end hath 
appointed the means too, and settled the connection be- 
tween them ; that is, that there shall be such faith, such a 
new creature, such holiness ; and these shall be continued 
and maintained till the end be attained; and the end shall 
be attained hereupon. The necessary subserviency of such 
means doth not make the end less certain; but more ra- 
tionally certain, more certain to us, more evident to us, 
when we see the way chalked out more plainly that leads 
to it, and in which it is brought about. I say, that nothing 
is plainer, than that both these are brought about by the 
influence of hope ; both the soul's first conversion and 
turning to God, and its continuance and perseverance to 
the end. And, that I may evince the influence of hope as 
to both these, with the more clearness, there is somewhat 
that I must premise to make my way the clearer thereto. 
That is, 

1. That God, in his dealings with the souls of men in 
order to salvation doth work very much upon a natural 
principle of self-love in them. 1 say, that, in order to the 
saving of souls, God, in his dealing with them, doth very 
much apply liiraself to a principle ofnatural self-love. This 

SBK. x^.) God zaorks on our Self 'love, 211 

is plain, and out of all question. And the precepts, with 
their sanctions, (the great instruments that lie works and 
moves them hy,) do all suppose it. The great gospel pre- 
cept, " believing in the Son of God," with its sanction 
admixt, doth plainly suppose it. " Go, preach this gos- 
pel to every nation ;" — What is this for ? In order to be- 
lieving in general. What is the sanction annexed to this 
precept? — '' He that believeth shall be saved; he that be- 
lieveth not shall be damned." These are direct applica- 
tions to the principle of self-love. What can either of these 
signify by way of argument, but as they do accommodate 
this principle, and are some way suited thereunto? What 
doth it weigh to tell such an one, You shall be saved if 
you believe with a true gospel faith, if he doth not love 
himself; if he have no love for his own soul i* And what 
doth it weigh to tell such an one. If you do not believe you 
shall be damned, if he love not his own soul, if he care not 
what becomes of his soul ? Nothing is plainer, than that 
God doth apply himself to the natural principle of self- 
love in us, when he comes to deal with us about tlie affairs 
of our salvation and eternal well-being. What are heaven 
and hell laid in open view before us for, in so much amia- 
bleness, and in so much terror, but to move this principle 
of self-love? And then I would premise, 

2. Supposing the principle of self-love, the end that every 
one must design thereupon must suit and answer that 
principle. And thereupon it will be consequent, that he 
who is to be saved must be made to design his own salva- 
tion ; which also the plainest and greatest gospel principles 
do most significantly and manifestly hold forth to us as 
matter of indispensable duty; that is, that we are to design 
our own salvation; to " work out our own salvation with 
fear and trembling;" what doth that signify else? what 
doth it signify less? '' Give diligence to make your call- 
ing and election sure;" — " strive to enter in at the strait 
gate ;" be ye in agonies in order to it; that is the English 
of that expression. If the principle of self-love is to be 
set on work ; and if, from that principle, our own salva- 
tion is to be designed as our end ; then it will be most 
apparently consequent, that the hope of attaining our end ' 
must needs be the great influencing thing upon us, in re- 
ference to whatsoever is necessary thereunto. And so, 

3. The whole business of conversion we must under- 
stand to be influenced by hope, upon the supposal that the 
person that now lies under the converting work is ail the 

T 2 


while designing his own salvation. And here my business 
is, and will be, to let you see how the many things that are 
incident, and do fall in together in the business of a man's 
serious and thorough conversion, and turning to God, must 
be understood to be influenced by hope throughout. The 
turning soul is, in its turning, an hoping soul, and would 
never turn if it did not hope ; because it hopes, therefore it 
turns. The Divine Spirit works all, (it is true ;) but it works 
accommodately and suitably to our nature, to the reasona- 
ble intelligent nature in which it works. Do but consider 
the plain and great things that are carried in this turning, 
when the soul hath received the impression, or doth now 
actually receive the impression from God that turns it : 
and see how manifest it is, that the influence of hope runs 
into every one. As, 

(1.) In this turn wrought upon the soul there is convic- 
tion of sin, (as is obvious to every one,) accompanied many 
times with very great terrors, which have much participa- 
tion even of hell in them, an affinity with it, a nearness to 
it. The soul, in order to its being raised and brought as 
high as heaven, is first (as it were) dipped into hell, brought 
as near hell as it can come without being plunged and 
irrecoverably lost and swallowed up of it. And you must 
consider the soul as an apprehensive thing all the while. 
You must consider the Divine Spirit working upon an 
intelligent, rational subject, in this its descent. The soul 
descends with open eyes, and it descends with a kind of 
consent, let me go down and visit my own deserved por- 
tion and lot. It descends an apprehensive thing, an open- 
eyed thing, and voluntarily; there is a voluntariness in it; 
but that there could never be if there were no hope. I &m 
content to go down, and descend even to the very brink 
and verge of the infernal pit; but I go down with hope, 
that God will not plunge me in it; that he will not lose 
me, and let me be swallowed up there ; even while it is 
beset with amazing terrors, they are not the terrors of total 
despair, then it were to be turned into a mere devil ; total 
despair would make it so. But though there may be so 
great fear, the soul seems, it may be, to itself, a composi- 
^ tion of fear ; there is, however, a secret influence of hope ; 
though he shake me over hell, he will not throw me into 
it; he will, in mercy to my soul, " save me from going 
down into the pit:" wliile it is convinced, it hopes ; and 
the more it hopes the more easily it admits of conviction : 
As vile a wretch as 1 am, as any representation could make 

SER. XV.) Hojye softens the Heart. 213 

me, I hope God will not utterly cast me off. The con- 
victions that are accompanied with terror are not accom- 
panied with hope ; it is undespairing terror. 

(2.) There is in this converting work deep and serious 
humiliation, which is a farther thing than mere conviction 
of the evil of sin, and of the deserts of it; which hath for 
its seat and subject of it, the heart, a tender heart, a re- 
lenting heart, a broken, melting heart. This is carried in 
the work of conversion; but this can never be without 
hope. All the terror in the world will never melt a soul, 
but hope will. Hope makes it to dissolve, makes it to 
relent; he puts his mouth in the dust, if so be there may 
be hope. Lam. iii. 29- Is there hope for me? — then I care 
not how low I lie; then let me humble myself to the low- 
est that is possible at the footstool of the mercy-seat ; for I 
see there is hope for me. Despair would harden the heart, 
and render it as a rock, impenetrable, inflexible. But hope 
makes it to melt and dissolve. There is the greatest hor- 
// ror(to be sure) in hell itself, where there is the most abso- 
lute perfect despair; and so that fire, even the fire of the 
infernal pit, that scorches, that enrages, that exasperates, 
that inflantes the soul with enmity, malignity, and hatred 
against the very Author of its being. But it is another 
kind of fire that melts. Hell fire will scorch, but it will 
not melt. It is the spirit of divine love in the gospel that 
only melts ; and if it melts it gives ground of hope, as God 
is revealed reconcileable and willing to be at peace. When 
the gospel saith so, and the Spirit breathes in that gospel, 
and declares to the soul immediately, God is reconcilable ; 
now is the heart clothed with shame and confusion, and lies 
low in self-abasement, even to the very lowest it can lay 
itself; " that thou mayest be ashamed and confounded, and 
never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, 
when 1 am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast 
done, saith the Lord." Ezek. xvi. latter end. That is, when 
I have shewn thee how willing I am to be reconciled, re- 
vealed myself so pacifiable, reconcileable, and given thee 
hope of pardon, mercy, and grace, then shalt thou be 
ashamed and confounded, and never open thy mouth any 
more, because of thy shame, when I have discovered my- 
self so placable towards thee, and so willing to be recon- 
ciled. And again, 

(3.) There is in this converting work, a mortification 
endured and undergone, even of the most con-natural cor- 
ruptions, and evil inclinations. The soul endures the cut- 

p 3 - 


ting oiFthe right hand and the right foot, and putting out 
the right eye; and submits to the command, Ure, Seca, as 
that Father is brought in saying. Lord, burn me, wound 
me, cut me, so thou wih but save me ! 1 matter it not. What? 
Cutting off tile right hands and feet, and plucking out the 
right eyes ? — this would never be endured if it were not for 
hope. Here is in this turn a denial of all ungodliness and 
worldly lusts whatsoever, under the instruction of grace, 
under the instruction of that grace, which appears bringing 
salvation, and that teaches us this denial of all ungodli- 
ness and worldly lusts. And how, and in what way ? — 
** Looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing 
of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ." While 1 
yield and submit to such things as these, to be pulled 
away from all ungodliness, and to have all my worldly 
lusts torn from me, it is in the contemplation of that 
blessed hope. Oh, how comfortably shall 1 behold Christ, 
and will he behold me, who have endured all this for his 
pleasure ! The pleasures of sin are abandoned, which are 
but for a season. And why ? — Because there is an eye had 
to the recompense of the reward ; and because that faith 
begins now to take hold of the soul, that is " the sub- 
stance of things hoped for." Heb. xi. 1. compared with 
what is mentioned in the 26th and 27th verses. And 

(4.) There is in this work of conversion a forsaking of all 
the world ; that is the term the soul turns from, when God 
is the term it turns unto ; a forsaking of all this world, as 
a most despicable thing, a composition of idols ; and what 
have 1 to do with idols ? saith the turning, the returning 
soul. What have I anymore to do with them? '' Love 
not the world, nor the things of the world ; if any man love 
the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John ii. 
15. And what can make a man abandon a thing he hath 
loved, but the hope of a better ? — 1 shall meet with some- 
thing better, something that will be a rich compensation 
for all that I abandon and throw away. We find those con- 
verts to whom the Apostle Peter writes his first epistle, 
that they were thrown out of all for Christ and the gospel's 
sake: elect strangers, scattered throughout the several 
quarters of Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia, and wherever 
else scattered they v/ere ; driven from their own home and 
inheritance. And how came they to yteld to all this; to 
quit all they had in this world, and betake themselves to 
wandering ? Why, it was for the sake of Christ. You have 

SF,R. XV.) Hope takes hold on Cod. 215 

" been begotten (saith the Apostle) to a lively hope 
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 
to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth 
not away." This was in their very regeneration ; this was 
among their natulitiay the principles of their birth, their 
new divine birth. A certain hope of better things than 
they were to lose for the sake of Christ and the gospel. 
They were to lose all their earthly inheritances ; no matter 
for that, " we are begotten again to a lively hope" of such 
an inheritance; and we shall be kept to it, — '* kept by the 
mighty power of God through faith to salvation ;" as there 
it follows in the same context. And, 

(5.) Here must be in this work of conversion a serious, 
solemn taking of God for our God, when the soul is so far 
loosened and unhinged from sin, and from this world, to 
which it did cleave by sinful inclination. Then are things 
so prepared and made read}' for its unitive closure with 
that great object, from whom it hath injuriously withheld 
itself all this while; and unto whom, out of the state of 
apostasy, it must now betake itself, and is now betaking 
itself. Now having thrown off this world, and being 
loosened, and saving myself, by the help and power of thy 
grace, from the bands and cords of my own iniquity, I 
come, blessed God, to accept of, and unite with thee, to 
take thee for my Lord and my God. Here is the term to 
which the soul turns, when sin and the world were the 
terms from which it did turn. But now, I pray, do any of 
you think that a soul ever took God for its God with des- 
pair? — or doth it ever take God for its God without hope ? 
To be without God, and without hope, they come toge- 
ther ; and to be with God, and with hope, must parineam 
be joined together too. *' Ye are without Christ and with- 
out God in the world," (saith the Apostle to the Ephe- 
sians, referring to their natural unconverted state, Ephes. ii. 
12.) when the case herein is changed, that the soul is no 
longer without God, then it is no longer without hope. It 
would be without God, if it still were without hope; but 
it having conceived an hope, that God is graciously and 
most condescendingly willing to be embraced by such a 
poor wretched thing as I am, he will permit himself to be 
embraced ; I hope he will, 1 say ; because it hopes therefore 
it chooses, therefore it accepts him, therefore it takes him. 
This God shall be my God ; he takes him under hope ; he 
covenants with him under hope. 

You see how the case was with apostate Israel ; they 

p 4 


■were gone off from God, and he threw them off, when he 
abandoned them to the captivity ; weil, he hath, at length, 
gracious inclinations towards them, and within the ap- 
pointed limits of time revisiteth them, releaseth them, and 
bringeth them back into their own land. And then the 
great assembly of them, in the posture of penitents, (as 
you read in the 10th of Ezra,) is gathered together, and 
the result is, " Come, now, and let us make a covenant 
with God." They are for covenanting with him; they have 
a mind to have this God for their God again. But how is 
this introduced ? Now, because "there .is hope in Israel 
concerning this thing," therefore let us make a covenant ; 
since there is hope, let us do this ; since there is still some 
ground for hope, that God is taking up the controversy, 
and will not abandon us finally, and quite throw us off, 
and cast us away from being his people ; " because there 
is hope in Israel concerning this thing, therefore let us 
make a covenant." Every particular soul, upon its return 
to God, hath in it the epitome of this very case; I have 
been a wandering wretch, a revolted creature, an apostate 
rebel; God hath discovered himself, however, placable 
and willing of my return, and that I strike a covenant with 
him anew ; and he hath published this to be the tenor of 
his covenant, " I will be your God ;" and I am to give my 
consent to it, and take him hereupon for my God. Now 
this (1 say) the soul only doth because there is hope ; I will 
make a covenant, because I see there is hope in this thing. 
If I make none, I am lost ; if 1 do not covenant, I am un- 
done ; if 1 will be still a stranger to God, there is no way 
but to perish. But because there is hope I will covenant, 
I will take him for my God ; because there is hope he will 
accept a poor returning soul. And, 

(6.) In this work of conversion there must be an abso- 
lute self-denial, self-abnegation, an abandoning one's-self. 
This is the plain state of the case; conversion being that 
by which the soul enters into the Christian state of disci- 
pleship to Christ ; and Christ himself hath determined the 
matter ; " Except a man deny himself, he cannot be my 
disciple;" he can be no disciple of mine except he deny 
himself; because Christ's business with all that he chris- 
tianizeth, that he admits and takes to be his disciples, is 
but to take and lead them back to God ; and tliat they are 
never capable of till he takes them off frdm their rival god. 
Self is their rival god; and in this converting work the 
soul must abandon itself, must deny itself, so as no longer 

SER. XV.) Hope ttirrendtrs the Soul to God. 217 

to live according to its own will, as its rule ; nor for its own 
interest, as its end. 1 am to live (saith the soul) a seli- 
governed, a self-designing creature, no longer. I told you 
before of a very lawful and necessary self-love; that is, a 
love to a man's soul, and a true desire of his own felicity ; 
but that self that is to be denied is a carnal self, a brutal 
self, that is now become ourselves, become the whole of 
us; and so it comes to this with every returning soul ; I 
am not I ; Ego ?jo» sum Ego. There is a self to which it 
doth adhere, and there is a self, the which it doth abandon 
and forsake ; but, through the influence of hope, because 
I have hope in losing myself, I shall find myself; because! 
have hope, that, in throwing away this base, sordid self, I 
shall find and gain a rich glorious hope, self-conformed to 
the divine likeness; and, finally, made happy in him. 
Therefore I endure such severities as these; and I do en- 
dure all in hope. 

Here is in all this sowing to the Spirit, which sowing 
requires the breaking up the fallow ground beforehand, 
and the tearing out of weeds and roots, that did infest. 
And this is in order to such sowing to the Spirit, and that 
is with expectation of reaping of the Spirit what shall be 
suitable to it; and " they that sow to the Spirit shall of the 
Spirit reap life everlasting." But now you know, (as the 
Apostle teacheth us to conceive, and to speak elsewhere 
upon another account,) every one " that soweth, soweth in 
hope ; and he that plougheth, plougheth in hope," that he 
may be partaker of his hope. 1 Cor. ix. 10. When 1 give 
over sowing to my own flesh, pleasing and indulging of 
that, and begin to sow to the Spirit, as my ploughing 
before was ploughing in hope, my sowing now is sowing 
in hope. I would neither plough or sow, but only in hope ; 
so it is in a spiritual sense. And hereupon, 

(7.) There is in this work of conversion, a giving one- 
self up quite unto God, absolutely to be his ; you have 
taken him to be your's; you abandon self thereupon, and 
therewithal; and now you give up yourself to be his. And 
is this an act of despair, when a man gives up himself to 
God ? " Yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive 
from the dead," as the charge is, Rom. vi. 13. Is this 
giving or yielding ourselves to God a yielding one-self to 
perish ? — or is this the act of a despairing soul, when it 
saith, 1 will be the Lord's ? Though he saith, absolutely, Let 
him do with me what he will, yet it always apprehends he 
will not destroy me. Wiien I yield myself to him; when I 


put myself into his hands by my own act and deed, by my 
free and voluntary surrender, I know he will never de- 
stroy what I so voluntarily resign. And again, 

(8.) There is hereupon a resolution of walking in the 
way of holiness ; I have chosen the way of truth; that I 
will do whatever it cost me. And this cannot be but in 
hope neither. I shall find a pleasure in this way, though 
it seem uncouth at the first ; I shall find safety in it at 
length, at the latter end. Because I hope, therefore I 
choose. And there is, hereupon, 

(9.) An abandoning of all associates that any have united 
themselves with in an evil way ; a forsaking of them all ; a 
breaking off from them. They that have been my compa- 
nions in wickedness shall be my companions no longer, 
unless they will accompany me in the ways of God. This 
cannot be but in hope. There is an irksomeness in it, 
parting vvith those with whom we had all pleasantness of 
wit and raillery, and a delicious conversation, according to 
the gusts and relishes of impure imagination. And these 
relishes cannot be forsaken and abandoned, but upon the 
hopes of better. Now 1 shall be the associate of the 
blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to whom by 
baptismal vow I have been given up, and to whom now 
also I have afresh given up myself. Those that know, not 
only what it is to leave the ways of sin, but their accom- 
plices in wickedness, do know withal that there is difficulty 
in it, to which they need this powerful inducement of hope, 
that there will be that at length which will recompense 
and make up all to me. 


Romans, viu. 24. 
We are saved hy hope. , 

There is one, and a main thing yet behind, which I 
reserved to the last place, because there is most to be said 
to it. That is, 

* Preached April 26, 1691. 

SER. XVI.) Hope closes tmth Christ, 219 

(10.) That ill this converting work there is a solemn clo- 
sure with Christ; a passing quite into a vital union with 
him, so as that the soul comes thereby to be in him, and 
Christ comes to be in the soul. And this transaction could 
never be brought about but under hope. Christ will never 
come to be in that united state with you by your own con- 
sent and choice, it" he were not eyed by you under this no- 
tion,^' Christ in us the hope of glory;" Christ is to be 
mine, as my great hope, for eternity, and another world. 
And this transaction and contracting with Christ I reserved 
to the last place, not as if it were the last in time in the 
great work of conversion, but as that which 1 design to 
speak more largely unto. 

As for the method and order wherein all these mentioned 
things lie to one another, and wherein they may be effected 
and wrought in the souls of men, it may vary, and not be 
always the same. Some thoughts may be injected into 
some minds first, and others first into others. And though 
suitable and correspondent impressions be made according 
to injections of thoughts, yet the Spirit doth not always 
keep one way ; though some things must, in their own 
nature, precede, yet there is certainly an intention of an 
end always before the use of the means. With all rational 
agents and movements the end must be propounded that 
they design for; and then the way taken that is accom- 
modated to that end. And so the eye of the soul must be 
towards God finally ; first, as him that I am to return to, 
and then come to a closure with him, in whom he only is 
accessible. In reference to that, singly considered, that 
peculiar method is observed, though there are other things 
that have been mentioned which may partly precede, and 
partly follow. 

But this is that I would now insist upon, and make out 
to you, that, as in the work of conversion and regeneration, 
the soul is brought to an agreement with the Son of God, 
as the Redeemer, Saviour, and Ruler of sinners ; so it is 
brought to this by the influence and power of hope ; and 
it could never come to this agreement with Christ other- 
wise, but as its hope doth influence it hereunto. Most 
plain it is, that, wheresoever a work of conversion is 
brought about, and any do become Christians indeed, they 
are brought into Christ, they are brought to have an in- 
being in Christ, (as the Scripture phrase is, and that we 
must keep to, and labour to understand the mind and 
meaning of the Spirit of God in it,) Christ is nothing to 


US, till we be in him ; '^ Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who 
of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, sanc- 
tification, and redemption." 1 Cor. i. 30. That is, he is 
every thing to us that our case requires and needs, if once 
we be in him; and nothing if we be not in him : whereas 
we are foolish creatures, he is made to us wisdom; whereas 
we are guilty creatures, he is made unto us righteousness ; 
whereas we are impure creatures, he is made unto us sanc- 
tification ; and whereas we are enslaved creatures,, he is 
made unto us redemption, if we be in him; hut nothing 
of all these if we be not in him. When God deals witli 
souls in order to the renewing of them, they are his work- 
manship, created in Christ Jesus, to walk in them. Ephes. 
ii. 10. When he creates the new creature, it is said^ " If 
any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are 
done away, and all things are become new. 2 Cor. v. 17. 
This is the great thing that is brought about in the work of 
conversion or regeneration, or the work of the new crea- 
tion, which are various scripture expressions of the same 
thing. The giving the soul an in-being in Christ; invert- 
ing, implanting it into him, or (which is all one) bringing 
about an union between Christ and the soul; in respect 
whereof that union is so intimate, that he is sometimes 
said to be in it, and it is sometimes said to be in him. They 
are mutually in one another. This we must consider is the 
thing effected in conversion, and which we are to shew you, 
cannot be effected but by the influence of hope. 

Nothing can be more suitable to the Apostle's present 
scope, than to insist upon this, and evince it to you; for 
do but observe how he begins this chapter, and take notice 
how the whole series of his discourse proceeds upon the 
supposition of this one thing, their being in Christ; having 
spoken in the foregoing chapter, of the conflict, the war 
that is between the fleshly principle, and the spiritual prin- 
ciple; and the victory of the Spirit over the flesh, in all that 
are sincere, and where there is a thorough regenerating 
work wrought, thereupon he begins this chapter thus, 
" There is, therefore, now, no condemnation to them that are 
in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the 
Spirit ;" whereby he plainly signifies to us, that the fleshly 
principle ceaseth to govern, and it ceaseth to condemn at 
the same time; when sin doth no longer reign, it no longer 
condemns. This mighty turn and. change is brought about 
in the state of such a person, and in the frame and temper 
of such an one's spirit, at one and the same time; to wit. 

sEtt. XVI.) Hope triumphs in Christ. 221 

he is now no longer condemned for sin, and he is no longer 
governed by it, Tliere is no condemnation, and they no 
longer walk after the flesh, but after the spirit. But 
whence is it, that he hath this double privilege, or that this 
mighty turn and change is made in the state of his case ? 
Why, now he is in Christ, he hath been instated in Christ, 
and now he is neither condemned for sin, nor governed by 

And upon this supposition of persons being once in 
Christ, proceeds all the following discourse, through the 
residue of this chapter. So that now take such an one, 
suppose him giving (as it were) his account, standing on 
the brink of the rapid gulph, out of which he newly emerg- 
eth, and by grace enabled to spring forth, and make his 
escape: suppose we such an one, giving an account of his 
deliverance, and how it was brought about: You that were 
plunged in so deep and horrid a gulph, and so dreadful 
impurities, how comes it to be otherwise with you now.'' 
Why, 1 have been brought into Christ, and so, through 
the grace of God, is my state safe and comfortable. I was 
tossed in the common deluge and inundation of wicked- 
ness and wrath, that had spread itself over all this world; 
and this was my case, till 1 came to be in-arked in Christ, 
and so !• became safe. But how came you unto him? or 
what made you offer at any such thing? Why, 1 can give 
you but this account in the general, 1 am saved by hope; 
if I had no hope, I had been lost, sunk, and perished for 
ever; but here was the offer made me of a Redeemer and 
Saviour, and 1 hoped it was by one that had no design to 
deceive me ; and there I cast my anchor, and I am come 
to an agreement with the Son of God, the Saviour! And 
thus 1 come to be in this safe state. Safe I am through 
grace, and I own it, 1 am safe through hojje. — I had been 
lost else, if I had no hope, and should never have looked 
after Jesus Christ; — but I had hope when the gospel dis- 
covery and representation, and offer of Christ was made to 
me, that it was by one that could not fail, and would not 
deceive; one that was not impotent, and too weak to save 
me, and one that would never be false and untrue to me, if 
1 ventured upon him ; and because 1 had hope, therefore I 
ventured, and so I am come to this safe state. It is by 
the influence of hope, that souls are brought into that 
agreement with the Son pf God, upon which their eternal 
salvation and well-being depends. This is that 1 have to 


make out to you, to wit, that the soul in its first eyeing of 
Christ, doih eye him as the only hope of sinners. 

It is observable how the Apostle begins that first epistle 
of his to Timothy, in which a little after the beginning, he 
tells us in that great transport of spirit, " This is a faithful 
saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus 
came into the world, to save sinners." But see (I say) 
how he begins that very chapter and epistle ; " Paul an 
Apostle of God, and of Jesus Christ, by the commandment 
of God, and our Saviour, who is our hope." His heart 
was full of this thing, — That Christ was the. great hope of 
sinners; — and naturally breaks forth into such expressions 
as those that do afterwards follow: and being replenished 
with this sense, having his heart full of it saith, " This is 
a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus 
Christ came into the world to save sinners." He is repre- 
sented and held forth in the gospel, under such a repre- 
sentation as doth signify him to be the great and only hope 
of souls: so he is closed with, so he is received, so the soui 
resigns and gives up itself at length unto him. 

We see that under that notion, he is laid hold on. Look 
to that; Heb. vi. 18. " By two immutable things, by 
which it was impossible for God to lie, (to wit, the oath of 
God added to his word,) the heirs of promise might have 
strong consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold on 
the hope set before them." An allusion to the manslayer, 
one that had by casualty (but within the meaning of the 
law that gave immunity in such cases) slain another, for 
whom the cities of refuge were appointed and provided, 
with respect to the several tribes. This is the represen- 
tation of the case of a sinner frighted and pursued by the 
vindicta o^ i\\e divine law and justice; such have noway 
of escape remaining to them, but to fly for refuge to that 
hope that is set before them : that is, to Christ, the great 
antitype to those types, — these cities of refuge were so 
many types of him. But where is he to be eyed and fol- 
lowed now ? He is entered as a forerunner into the holy 
of holies, he is gone within the veil, and thither our hope 
must follow him, as you may see in the close of that chap- 
ter ; " Which hope we have, as an anchor of the soul, sure 
and steadfast, entering into that within the veil ; whither 
Jesus our forerunner is for us entered." 1 can have no 
hope (saith the pursued soul) but in Christ. But where 
will you find him ? He is gone far enough out of sight, he 

SER. XVI.) Hope follozvs Christ nithin the Veil. 223 

is entered within the veil, the heavens have received him. 
But yet (saith the soul) I mean to follow him thither, and 
my hope shall enter there, even within the veil, whither 
Christ is for me entered; I will not be held off from him. 
So this laying hold upon this hope is to be understood ; 
hope is objectively taken there, the hope set before them ; 
it is coming to an agreement, a contract with Christ. It is 
that by which we actually become entered into the cove- 
nant of God by Christ, we can take hold no other way but 
by the covenant; taking hold of the covenant, and taking 
hold of him, whom that covenant doth (as it were) enwrap 
and give us the hold of; they are equivalent expressions, 
and mean one and the same thing. But then understand 
under what notion is he to be taken hold of; you see that 
text speaks the matter plainly; he is to be taken hold of, 
under the notion of the hope set before them. And so 
when the soul comes into such an union with him, as to 
have his entrance into it, so as that he is said to be in the 
soul, to he, by an internal presence, actually indwelling in 
it: under what notion is that? Why, that scripture tells 
us. Col. i. 27. " Christ in you." How is he in us, under 
what notion is he in us ? As the hope of glory, he makes 
his way into the soul, under the notion of the soul's hope. 
The soul receives him, admits him, unites with him under 
that notion, as its great hope; Christ who is our hope, as 
that mentioned introductive passage of the Epistle to Timo- 
thy speaks. 

And here I must note to you, that speaking of the influ- 
ence of hope, upon this great transaction of the soul with 
Christ, I speak not of the hope which doth follow the re- 
ceptive act, or the self-resigning act, but of an hope that 
doth precede it. It is true, there is an hope which follows 
it, by which every believing soul is to continue hoping to 
the end; often repeating that act, through its whole after 
course. But there is an hope that doth precede it, of 
which I now speak, that is, that leads to this reception of 
Christ, and self-resignation to him ; and under the influence 
whereof, the soul doth receive Christ, and resign itself, and 
which therefore must be understood to precede : and that 
is only the immediate product of the gospel representation 
that is made of Christ ; he is discovered to us in the gospel 
in those capacities, and under those notions, in which he 
is to be received. This representation of him, so believed 
on, I believe (saith the soul) this is true, which the gospel' 
speaks concerning Christ, I assent to the truth of this word. 


Hence ariseth this hope in the soul, which intervenes he-r 
tween the assenting act of faith, and the relative act of 
faith ; the soul having thus assented to the truth of the 
gospel revelation, it hereupon hopes, surely 1 shall run no 
desperate hazard if I do receive Christ, and resign myself 
to him according as the gospel doth direct; and so by the 
influence of this hope accordingly doth receive, and doth 

And so the matter being so far stated before us, which 
we are to clear to you; 1 shall first argue it out by some 
more general considerations very briefly, and shall in some 
particular heads that do concur in this transaction with 
Christ, discover to you the influence of this hope to this 
purpose, the bringing about such an agreement and clo- 
sure of the soul with Christ. 

1. It may be argued out to you, from such general consi- 
derations as these. 

(1.) That the soul's contracting, or coming to such an 
agreement with Christ, is most certainly a very wise act, 
the wisest thing that ever any soul did for itself in all this 
world. As certainly they cannot but be great fools^ who, 
when the gospel reveals a Saviour, will perish by neglect 
of him ; will rather perish than receive him, when they have 
the Saviour in view, and the terms in view upon which he 
is to be received. 

(2.) Wisdom in any such action is to be estimated by the 
reference thereof to the end, which is to be designed 
therein. There is no wise action, but is designed for some 
end or other, as aptly serving and contributing to the at- 
taining of that end. Tliat is asuccedaneous consideration, 
which is plain in itself. And then add, 

(3.) That the proper end, which in such a reception of a 
Saviour must be designed, is salvation. Nothing can be 
plainer, than that the end, I am to design in receiving a 
Saviour is, that 1 may be saved by him. What else can it 
be? To which I subjoin, 

(4.) That there can be no design without hope. It is na- 
turally impossible to me to design my own salvation by 
receiving of a Saviour, but it must be with hope of success 
in this way. There can be, in all the world, no such thing 
as a design laid without hope of compassing it ; no end pro- 
posed without hope and expectation, that at last it may be 
brouglit about. It is not needful that there should be a 
certainty that it shall, but there must be an hopefulness 
apd probability that it may, otherwise there can be no 

SER. XVI.) Hope, in rejiouncing all other Hope. 225 

design at all. It is not agreeable to the human nature to 
design for that, of which there is no hope. These are ge- 
neral considerations, which do plainly enough evince, that 
this transaction of the s,ipul with Christ, in order to its own 
salvation, must be under the influence of hope. But, 

2. I shall go on to shew, from several particulars, which 
lie within the compass of this great work of transacting and 
agreeing with Christ, according to the terms of the gospel 
covenant; upon each of which, it cannot be, but hope must 
have influence. As, 

(1.) In such a transaction with Christ, or when the soul 
is coming to an agreement with him upon gospel terms, it 
must renounce any other saviour or way of salvation, that 
either is co-ordinate with him, or much more, that shall be 
opposite to him ; whatsoever indeed shall be subordinate, 
must be taken in, but to think of any thing co-ordinate, of 
any such thing, there must be a most absolute renunciation. 
The soul must speak its own sense in such words as the 
church speaks here ; " Asher shall not save us, nor will we 
say to the works of our hands, ye are our gods ; for with 
thee the fatherless find mercy." There must be an exclu- 
sion of all things else, that shall be co-ordinately joined 
with Christ, or that shall be brought into any kind of com- 
petition with him, in this his saving work, and oflTer. I 
abandon all other saviours, (this is the language of the 
soul,) and all expectations from any other. 

Now, whereas it is manifest the soul must be brought to 
this, if ever it come to a closure and agreement with Christ, 
so it can never be brought to this, but by the influence of 
of hope concerning him. A drowning man will never let 
go his twig, but in order to a surer hold of something that 
may be stronger, and that he may better trust to it. If 
men have nothing else to rely upon, but their own ima- 
giued innocency, or their righteousness, or their perform- 
ances, that they have performed such and such things in a 
way of duty, or withheld themselves, and abstained from 
such and such things in a way of sin. If men have nothing 
else to rely upon here, they will hold till they have a better 
hold. It must be the influence of a better hope, some bet- 
ter hope introduced, that must make the soul willing to let 
go this hold : they will never quit the twig, till they have 
in view somewhat better and stronger to take hold of. 
There must be this, in the first place, in the soul's trans- 
acting with Christ, a renouncing of any other Saviour, or 
any other way of salvation. 



(2.) There must be the taking on of Christ's yoke; in this 
transaction with him, the soul must agree to take his yoke 
upon it, submit its neck thereunto. The gospel is plain 
and express in this, even in those words of grace them- 
selves, than which the gospel did never breathe sweeter and 
more grateful ones ; " Come unto me all ye that are weary, 
^nd heavy laden, and I will give you rest; learn of me, 
and take my yoke upon you, and you shall find rest to 
your souls, for my 3^oke is easy, and my burden is light." 
But such as it is, take it you must; or you are never to 
expect rest from me, safety, or relief from me. If I give, 
you must take. If I give you pardon, if I give you peace, 
you must take my yoke, my burden upon your necks and 
shoulders : in short, the soul must submit to be governed 
by Christ, subject itself to his governing power, and the 
sceptre of his kingdom. This must be its fence. " Other 
lords have had dominion over me, but now I will make 
mention of thy name, of thine only." It must be subject 
to the government of Christ, both negative and positive ; 
that is, must submit, and be bound up from every way of 
sin, and it must submit and yield to be bound to every 
way of duty: and this is taking up of Christ's yoke, and 
this it can never do but with hope, but under the influence 
of hope. 

It is upon the declining of this, that many a soul comes 
to break with Christ after a treaty begun, and (it may be) 
carried on far: they may be content to entertain those 
pleasant thoughts which the gospel gives some intimation 
of, and by its first overtures doth (as it were) suggest and 
ofi^er to the soul, of having sin pardoned, and God recon- 
ciled, and being saved from the wrath to come, and of being 
intitled to future felicity, and a blessed state. These are 
pleasant thoughts, and the first aspect of the gospel doth 
suggest them ; and while the soul looks upon these alone, 
and doth not look upon what there is of conjunct duty 
with it, it may go on far, and there may seem to be an 
agreement entered, or very near to be entered, or which 
the soul is in a great disposition to enter into with Christ, 
while it is only expecting much from him, and thinks of 
bending itself in nothing to him. But when that part 
comes to be reflected on too, then the soul begins to recoil, 
to. revolt, and to fly off*. It can be content with every 
thing but to be yoked, to come under restraints from sucli 
and such ways; no, (saith the soul,) I v/ill never endure to 
be yoked, to come under obligation to such and such 

SER. XVI.) Hope in taking Christ's Yoke. 227 

things as have (lisj)leased me, and I could never yet like. 
Yes, but this Christ insists on. If ever you expect rest 
from me, I expect you will take on my yoke ; that you wil- 
lingly submit to be yoked by me; it is indeed an easy 
yoke, and I would have thee understand the matter so, 
and thou wilt find it an easy yoke, when once thou hast 
tried it; but a yoke it is, and as such it must be received. 
But here is the great matter ot'hesitation, the wretched soul 
sticks at this, No, I will not endure thy yoke! It is as a 
bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, as Ephraim is repre- 
sented, Jer. xxxi. 18. and if ever they come to be made 
sensible, they will speak that sense truly, " I was like 
Ephraim, thou hast chastised me, and I was ciiastised, I 
was as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; turn thou me, 
and I shall be turned." This is their sense, if ever they 
become truly and thoroughly sensible; but in the mean 
time, here is the stick, because they have not been accus- 
tomed to the yoke, and cannot endure to be yoked, there- 
fore doth many an one part with Christ, and give uj) all ; 
all treaty is quite broken off between Christ and tliem. 
And if it be, pray what is the reason of it, thou wretched 
soul ? [f one may speak thy own sense in the case, if thou 
wouldest but reflect and see, \vhether it be not so, this will 
prove to be it, to wit, thou hadst no hope. I believe I 
may speak the heart of many an one in this case, if they 
could but tell how to speak their own, and to observe so 
much of their own heart. 

I would have such to consider it, as are yet in their 
youthful days, whether sometimes, having been struck with 
convictions, and having taken up thoughts of providing for 
their own safely, and eternal well-being, they have not 
thereupon come to some kind of deliberation : The gospel 
is plain, here 1 have the Redeemer fully represented to me 
in it. And then this hath been your sense. Lord, I begin to 
take up thoughts of coming to an agreement with thee upon 
the terms proposed to me in thy gospel. It may be, the 
soul hath seemed to itself willing to submit to them, rather 
than perish; but afterwards, through want of watchfulness, 
or too much self-confidence, or too little dependance upon 
the grace of God, a temptation hath proved victorious 
in some or other particular instances, and here hath been a 
relapse into somewhat (it may be) of a gross sin ; I inquire 
of such, whether this be not the truth of the case, whether 
hereupon their soiils have not grown hopeless ? Well, I 
shall never overcome; here are my corruptions that are 



too hard for me, and I shall never prevail ! It may be, 
thoughts have been resumed, and trials have been renewed 
again and again, and returning temptations have prevailed, 
and got the upper hand. Wei), saith the soul, I shall never 
do any good at it, 1 shall never make any thing of it: and 
thereupon all hath been given up, and the reins have been 
laid freely on the neck of lusts, and that resolution hath 
been taken, " I have loved strangers, and after them 1 will 
go ;" and why it was taken, so that text tells us, Jer. ii. 29. 
Thou hast said, there is no hope; and what then ? '' I have 
loved strangers, and after them 1 will go." 

So very contiguous and bordering, are despair and pre- 
sumption upon one another, when the soul absolutely 
despairs, then it most highly presumes. There is no hope ; 
well, what then? " 1 have loved strangers, and after them 
1 will go;" I will let corruption and sensual inclinations 
have their swing, I will obey the lusts of it, for there is 
no hope. And then, how lamentable a thing is it, that a 
soul should be lost so; for if there be no hope in the case, 
there will be no repetition of endeavours, no further strug- 
glings, no further contests : and then, all is lost, all is gone, 
which is the forlorn case of those (as I have had occasion 
at large to shew) who had in some measure escaped the 
corruptions of this world through lust, by the knowledge 
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and are again entan- 
gled therein and overcome; their latter end witl) them is 
worse than the beginning. And whence is this ? Because 
they have been entangled and overcome, therefore they 
throw away all hope. They should indeed, throw away 
all hope of being saved, while they are overcome, and re- 
main so, and are slaves, vassals, and captives, to corrupt 
inclinations; they should throw away all hope of ever 
being saved in this state; but they should not throw away 
all hope of being saved out of it. They should throw away 
hope of being saved without overcoming; but they ought 
to entertain hope that they shall overcome ; that yet they 
shall overcome, if yet they watch, and yet strive, and yet 
pray, and yet depend ; and there is no other thing to be 
done. It is not to lie down and perish thus, and say there 
is nothing more to be done. That is another thing to be 
done in this coming to an agreement with Christ, upon 
which hope hath influence, namely, taking on his yoke. And, 

(3.) Taking up his cross, that must be done too ; and you 
can never come to a closure with Christ, to an agreement 
with him upon other terms ; you cannot without it be a 

SER. XVI.) Hope in taking tip Christ's Cross. 229 

disciple, Luke xiv. 20. that is, cannot be a Christian ; he 
only makes feint offers at being a Christian, but is none 
till he comes to this, to take up the cross, that is, willingly 
to submit to these terms, that it shall be laid upon him 
whenever Christ pleaseth, whenever his word and provi- 
dence together so state the case, that either I must em- 
brace sin or the cross. 

And as it is plain, that thus it must be whensoever the 
soul transacts with Christ, so it is most highly reasonable 
that thus it should be. Do not murmur at it, do not think 
it hard that you are to go (if Christ will have it so) a suffering 
Christian to heaven and glory ; for pray, did he not bear a 
worse cross for you ? and do not you expect to be saved 
from worse things by him? Did not the death that he suf- 
fered upon the cross import unspeakably more of grievance 
and of horror, than any thing you are capable of suffering 
in this world ? And as to what you are capable of suffering for 
him, and upon his account, is it at all comparable to the suffer- 
ings you expect to be delivered from by him? Is it not 
reasonable then, that a state of most absolute devoting to 
him all your external comforts, and your very life itself, (if 
it should be called for,) should come in, and be made part 
of those terms, upon which Christ will conclude with you, 
that you shall be his, and he will be yours? Never mutter 
at it, the reason of the thing speaks itself, that you in com- 
ing to him say. Lord, I am come to make a most absolute 
contract with thee ; take me, my life, my estate, my con- 
cernments, all that is dear to me in this world, I am willing 
should become a sacrifice to thee ; do with me, and what 
belongs to me, as thou wilt, only save my soul; it is for 
eternal life I am come to thee, and for no temporal immu- 
nities or enjoyments. 

(4.) Another thing considerable in this contract and agree- 
ment with Christ, and which is the essential thing, is the 
vital union that the soul must enter into with him. If ever 
you come to an agreement with Christ, you must be vitally 
united. There must be that union of life between him and 
you, as whereupon spirit may be said to touch spirit, and 
life, life; as in that 1 Cor. vi. 17. " He that is joined to 
the Lord, is one spirit." 

Oh! that this might be understood, and enter into all our 
hearts ! 1 am much aware of it, how easy a thing (in com- 
parison) an external and outside Christianity is, and how 
apt men are to take up with that. A religion, a Christian- 
ity, that consists but in externals, or any thing of that kind, 

S 3 


is incomparably easier than this venturing, or adjoining 
of ourselves with Christ. The affrighted soul when once 
it is awakened in any measure, and apprehensive of the 
danger of its case, it readily submits to any thing but this, 
which is a thing partly hot understood, and partly irksome 
and grievous to flesh and blood : it recoils at the very 
thought of it. Any thing is easy in comparison of this: 
any thing that shall only be an exercise to the outward 
man, or (as 1 may say) to the surface of the inner, to wit, 
the soul when it is under an affright, then it may yield : 1 
will comply with any external abstinences, 1 will submit 
to any external performances, I will abstain from what you 
■will have me, I will perform what you will have me, as to 
the outward man, only let me be excused from such efforts 
of the inner man, as 1 partly do not understand, and partly 
as I do understand them, I cannot but regret, and have an 
aversion to them. 

Here it is that many an one breaks witli Christ, because 
they will not endure those paroxysms, which they must 
pass through in passing from death to life; in turning the 
very vertical point. It is being created in Christ, coming 
to a vital union with him, that is the great thing at which 
the heart startles and revolts. This was the very case we 
read of in that 6th chapter of John, when our Saviour had 
said and inculcated again and again, " No man can come 
to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." 
And he observes the tumultuations and mutinies of their 
minds at the spiritualities of his foregoing discourse : there- 
upon saith he. Do not murmur at this, for I tell you, that 
" No man can come to me, except the Father draws him," 
And in the sequel of that discourse, (verse 65th,) Did not I 
tell you before, " no man can come to me except it be 
given him of my Father ?" They were willing to comply far 
in externals ; you see they followed Christ from place to 
place, with mighty complacency attended upon his gospel, 
were pleased with his doctrine; when they miss him in one 
place they run to another part of the country, they take 
ship and follow him ; when they understood he was gone to 
the other side of the sea of Tiberias they throng after him 
in great multitudes; they leave the affairs of their callings 
to go from place to place after him; but yet, when they 
heard this from him, many went back, and walked no more 
with him. This is the sense of many an one towards Christ ; 
Lord, we will follow thee all the country over ; we will go 
from place to place, wheresoever we may meet thee, or 

SER. XVI.) Hope in behig united to Christ. 231 

hear any thing of thee. And these persons, while they did 
thus much externally, did also abstain from much, you 
may be sure, where they could have no opportunity of in- 
dulging and gratifying their appetites ; being thus hurried 
from place to place, pursuing and following Christ ; yet 
they did it. So it may be with many an one besides, in our 
days, when they are awakened, and in some terror, there 
are no external abstinences that we think or know will 
offend ; we will no more be drunk with the drunken, nor 
scorn with the scorners ; no, by no means; we will under- 
go any restraint and severities in this kind, rather than run 
the hazard of our souls; and we will stick at no external 
performances ; nothing that hath but bodily exercise in it. 
We care not how many sermons we go to hear ; we will go 
any where to the church, or to the meeting-place, where we 
may hear the most serious ministers ; we will be sure always 
to stick close to the honest side, and to the best cause; we 
will be true to the last, to the protestant religion and go- 
vernment, and to that party that adhere thereto. All 
this is fairly and well overtured ; but tell them, that be- 
sides all this you must have a work wrought in your heart 
and soul, which is to be done by a divine power. By a di- 
vine power, say ye ? Then where are we ? Can we com- 
mand the divine power ? This is the foolish cheat and de- 
ceit that many put upon themselves ; and they make the 
matter to be hopeless from such expressions ; " No man 
can come to me, except the Father that hath sent me 
draw him," and " except it be given him of my Father.'* 
Here are true and just premises, from whence many times 
men allow themselves to infer the falseth conclusion ima- 
ginable. That, therefore, they have nothing to do, and 
therefore they have nothing of hope remaining to them ; 
considering that which is only in the power of another, not 
in their own. But upon serious and sober thoughts ; — is it 
not all one, whether you have that power of your own, or 
may have it from another, if it be duly sought in the pre- 
scribed way that plainly lies in view before us all ? Doth 
not the same gospel, the same word that saith, " no man 
can come to me except the Father that hath sent me 
draw him," or *^ except it be given him of my Father," say- 
also, that he " will give his Holy Spirit to them that ask 
him," as readily as parents will give bread to their children 
rather than a stone ? 

This doth not difference the case ; it is only a reservation 
that the great God doth think fit to keep to himself, as 

Q 4 


suitable to the majesty of a God in the way of his dispen- 
sations towards perishing creatures, offending creatures. 
Mercy you shall have ; help you shall have ; power you 
shall have to do what is necessary to be done in order to 
your being made safe and happy. But you shall know you 
are to receive it ; you are to seek it ; you are to come upon 
the knee for it; you are to be in the dust for it; to wait, 
and be prostrate at the foot of a mercy-seat, and before a 
throne of grace. This is suitable to God, and it is suitable 
to you ; to an offended Majesty, and to offending crea- 
tures; but it doth not infer that there is therefore no hope, 
because there is such a vital union to be brought about 
with Christ, as can only be brought about by a divine 
power; for there is still hope that you may have that 
power afforded you, and exerted in you, both from the 
gracious nature of God, to which it can never agree to let 
a soul perish that is aiming at a compliance with, him, in 
his own way, and upon his own terms. And there is encou- 
ragement from most express words of scripture, that carry 
such sweet alluring breathings of grace in them ; " Turn 
ye at my reproof; 1 will pour out my Spirit upon you ; 
1 will make known my words unto you." Prov. i. 28. And 
do you think these words signify nothing? ** As 1 live, 
saith the Lord, 1 take no pleasure in the death of him that 
dieth; Turnje, turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel? 
Turn, and live." There must be offers of turning, aims to 
turn, aimings to come to his closure, reachings forth of the 
soul towards Christ, to come to a living union with him ; 
and in that way you are to expect help. 

Objection 1. But it may be said, what hope yet can there 
be, when, upon the whole matter (as we have lately been 
taught) there are very few that are saved, and when it is so 
apparent that the generality do perish, do walk on in de- 
structive ways, — ways that take hold of hell, and lead down 
to the chamber of death ? What hope is there for us, that 
we that are here in this assembly, when there are so few 
that are saved; what hope (I say) can there be given to us, 
that we shall be of those few ? 

Amwer. To this let me say but thus much at present ; 
that, as few as they are, who have you heard of concerning 
whom you have ground to think, to admit a thought, that 
they did perish, or were in likelihood to perish, taking the 
course that hath been directed ? That is, having the terms 
of the gospel in view before them, and aiming and striving 
to their uttermost, and accompanying their endeavours 

SER. XVI.) Objections Ansuered. 233 

with earnest supplication to the God of all grace, for help 
to comply with those terms, and come up to them ? As 
few as they are that are saved, they are certainly much 
fewer that ever perished this way, if ever you can suppose 
that any one perished that doth thus. If there are few 
that shall be saved, do but consider how much fewer a num- 
ber you have here to oppose of such as perish in such a 
way, and upon such terms : incomparably fewer, if ever it 
can be thought that any at all have thus perished. And 
no more needs to be said to this now. 

Objection 2. But it may perhaps be said, — it seems, how- 
ever, a very mean thing, that the soul, in coming to a clo- 
sure with Christ, should be influenced hereunto only by 
the hope of being saved ; I come to him, because I hope J 
shall be saved by him; I have terrible destruction in view, 
and I find myself beset with dangers and deaths, and I have 
no other way to escape; but the hope of escaping brings 
me to Christ. This (it may be said) is mean. 

Answer. Mean, say ye? And to whom is it mean ? Is it 
mean to you, or is it mean to Christ ? It is very true in- 
deed, to you it is mean, and it is fit it should be so; for a 
company of offending creatures, must they stick at any 
thing that may be mean to them in order to their being 
saved ? Why, man, it is in order to thy being saved from 
eternal death and destruction ; and wilt thou grudge at 
any thing, because it is mean, that tends and is necessary 
to the saving thee ? No ; it is fit for us to put our mouths 
in the dust, (as was said,) " if there may be any hope." They 
that have forfeited their lives, and deserved a thousand 
hells, is it for them to stick at any thing because it is 
mean ? But when to you it is mean, to Christ it is not 
mean ; that he should be the hope of sinners, to him it 
is honourable ; to him it is glorious. And by how much 
the more it is debasing to you, it is so much the more ex- 
alting to him, magnifying of him in his office, and mag- 
nifying of him in the great and high excellencies of his 
nature and person. 



ROMANS, vin. 24. 
We are saved by Hope. 

But now there doth somewhat need to be considered in 
reference to all that hath been opened, which may, by way 
of objection, occur and offer itself to the thoughts of many. 

Objection 1. This may be objected ; that it seems not so 
intelligible how hope should have influence npon conver- 
sion ; for, can there be any thing good in the soul before 
conversion r And inasmuch as by conversion itself the first 
grace is given, can there be any grace before this first? 
Why, there are several things that may be said to this, 
which it will be of very great use to us to consider ; and 
which (this being a fit way of introducing them) I choose 
to introduce this way. As, 

Answer 1. That there is always a difficulty in fixing the 
beginnings of things. The very transitus of any thing from 
its non esse to its primum esse; from its state of nothing- 
ness to its beginning to be, is always a matter of real diffi- 
culty, and which cannot but carry somewhat of obscurity 
and dubiousness along with it. But, 

Answer 2. It was upon the foresight of what I tell you now 
is liable to be objected, that I told you formerly of a two- 
fold hope, which we are to consider in reference to the 
present case; to wit, of an human and rational hope, and 
of an holy and gracious hope. The former whereof is lead- 
ing, and introduced to the latter ; and, indeed, to be pre- 
supposed to it as a foundation, according as the human 
rational nature is unto the holy gracious nature ; every one 
must be an human creature before he can be an holy crea- 
ture ; the being of the man precedes the being of the saint, 
or holy man. So it is in this case too ; the very being of 
an human rational hope must precede that of the gracious 
and holy hope ; and as such, it is not without the influence 
that hath been mentioned to the mentioned purposes. If 
any yet cannot hope as a saint, they ought according to the 

* Preached, June 14, 1691. 

SER. XVII.) How Hope injluences Conversion. 235 

grounds they have in view before them, to hope as a man. 
If you cannot yet hope as an holy creature, you ought to 
hope as a reasonable creature, according to those grounds 
that God hath laid in view before you. And, 

Answer 3. To hope as an human and reasonable creature is 
to hope, upon the consideration of such things as have that 
tendency in themselves to found and raise an hope in us ; 
that is plain and obvious in itself; for consideration is no- 
thing else but the exercise of our reasoning faculty ; a 
communing with ourselves ; a discussing matters with our 
own souls, or in our own minds, according to the concern- 
ment that we may apprehend them to be to us. And in 
that way, (if there be a real ground,) hope ought to be 
excited and raised up in us. And we ought to be active, 
in order to its being so. This I recall to my mind, tliere- 
fore have I hope; (Lam. iii. 21.) recollecting and calling 
to mind such things as are proper matter of hope, ought to 
excite and raise such hope in us. And again. 

Answer 4. This God himself doth point out to us as the 
proper method of conversion ; to wit, the engaging and 
setting on work our own considering power, which, being 
duly engaged, hath a tendency that hath been noted to 
raise hope. It is marked out as the great bar and obstruc- 
tion to conversion, when people will not consider : " the 
ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib ; but 
Israel doth not know, my people will not consider." Isaiah, 
i. 3, 4. " Ah, foolish people ! a sinful nation ; a people 
laden with iniquity ; a seed of evil doers ; children that are 
corrupters; they have forsaken the Lord." Isaiah, i. 16. 
And afterwards, he reasons with them to turn ; " Wash ye, 
make ye clean ; pnt away the evil of your doings from be- 
fore mine eyes ;" as you find throughout the series of that 
chapter. He calls upon his apostate people, (when they 
have revolted and gone back from him, and when therefore 
the exigency of the case makes their conversion and return 
necessary,) he calls upon to shew themselves men ; " re- 
member this, and shew yourselves men ; bring it again to 
mind, (oh,) ye transgressors !" Isaiah, xlvi. 8. And for that 
very reason, he discovers himself ready to shew mercy : 
when he hath at any time the opportunity given him of 
observing such a temper and disposition of spirit to con- 
sider and return. " When the wicked man turneth away 
from his wickedness which he hath committed, and doeth 
that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive." 
£zek. xviii. 27, 28. " Because he considereth, and turneth 


away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, 
he shall surely live ; he shall not die." '' Because he con- 
siders and turns;" if he do not consider, hewill never turn. 
Jf he do consider, he may, especially, when he doth consider 
such things as tend (as was said) to found and raise an hope 
for him of mercy in returning. Again, 

Answer 5. Such things as ought to be considered in such a 
case, they do more clearly and distinctly present themselves 
to view with them that live under the gospel. That gives 
mighty advantages to such considerations as carry matter 
of hope with them : and God will deal with all sorts of 
people according to that measure of light which he affords 
them. For those that live under the gospel, they must be 
dealt withal according to what discovery is extant before 
them of his mind and will by that ; for those that have no 
gospel, they will be dealt with by other measures. But, 
for those that live under the gospel, to whom that bright, 
and morning, and pleasant light hath shined, they ought to 
judge, and make, and estimate of their own state and case 
accordingly ; and think I am not a creature turned loose 
into the world to wander in it as in. a wilderness ; but I am 
by special, peculiar, divine favour placed under the dispen- 
sation of an everlasting gospel, in which he speaks his 
mind distinctly to men about the ways and methods of 
recovering and saving lost and perishing souls ; so that 
whatsoever hath a tendency to adminster any matter of 
hope, it lies in view with the greatest advantage imagi- 
nable, before whom this divine and express revelation of 
the mind of God about these concernments is come. And, 

Answer 6. That hope that shall (upon consideration of the 
things that have that tendency) arise in the souls of any in 
order to their conversion, and before that work be as yet 
done, we must understand it to be greatly improved and 
assisted by those greater measures of common grace, that 
are afforded to them that live under the dispensation of the 
gospel. And so, 1 told you at first, that human rational 
hope, assisted by common grace, may have a great and 
very significant influence towards this blessed change that 
is to be wrought upon the soul. And though it be very 
true, therefore, that there can be no special grace before 
the first special grace, (as the matter speaks itself,) yet 
there may be common grace before special grace. That 
grace that goes under the name of common, it is leading, 
it is preparatory, it is antecedent to that which goes under 
the notion of special. And so the doubt is answered, what 

SER. XVTT.) How Hope vifluenccs Conversion. 237 

grace can there be before the first grace ? Before the first 
grace, there may be other grace, — grace that is not special 
grace ; that is common, and that is in a greater measure 
afforded to them that live under the gospel. And there- 
upon I add. 

Answer 7. That there are sundry obvious considerations 
that tend to raise hope, which, as common grace falls in 
with it, (though it be but merely human and rational hope 
otherwise,) may have a mighty hand in the soul's first turn 
to God, or an influence upon it; considerations that tend 
partly to awaken in the soul a sense of its own case ; and 
that tend thereupon to erect and lift it up towards God in 
hope. I do not confine the discourse 1 am upon, nor would 
[ confine your thoughts to such considerations merely, 
abstractedly, and singly, as tend to beget hope ; but such 
as tend to beget a sense first, i lul then to beget hope ; that 
is, when the soul is made to feel its own distress, and per- 
ceive sensibly its own forlorn wretchedness ; this makes it 
the more susceptible of that hope that must have influence 
upon this great turn to God through Christ. And those 
will be such considerations, as they who live under the gos- 
pel have their present and constant advantage for. It is 
for one to sit down with himself, and think ; and we may 
be sure the gospel will never do that soul any good that 
never thinks, that never considers. But if one under the 
dispensation of the gospel will set himself to consider, he 
hath such considerations as these obvious to him : — 

" I am an apostate creature ; a poor wretch fallen from 
God, cut off from him by mine own iniquity, who hath 
been the Author of my life and being to me, and from whom 
alone 1 can expect a blessed eternity. I have by apostasy 
incurred his displeasure, fallen short of his glory, fallen 
under his wrath; I am, by nature, a child of wrath, as well 
as others are; I know there is a satisfaction due to divine 
justice from me, for the injury and wrong 1 have done to 
the majesty and authority of his government over me, who 
gave me breath ; I know I am never capable of making 
that satisfaction myself; if I were to lie everlastingly in 
consuming flames I should be always satisfying, but I 
should never have satisfied. But I find with all (and the 
gospel tells me so) God doth not expect from me that I 
should satisfy for my own sin ; he hath devolved that mat- 
ter wholly into another hand ; and the gospel having de- 
clared to me his mind and pleasure herein, it would be the 


greatest presumption imaginable in me to ofFer at being a 
satisfier for my own sin ; to offer at that were to offer an 
affront instead of a satisfaction ; to suppose I could satisfy, 
were for me to measure arms with the Almighty ; it were 
to take upon me as if I were a God, — as if I were the man 
his fellow ; as if any thing that could be done or suffered 
by me could bear proportion to the rights and dignities of 
the divine government, when they have been invaded, 
usurped, and violated, as they have been by me. But 1 
find by the same gospel, that though 1 am not required to 
make satisfaction to the justice of God for my own sin my- 
sel, yet I am required to return to God, and to receive his 
Son, who hath made that satisfaction; and to receive him 
with a dependant and subject heart, casting myself upon 
liim for salvation, and subjecting myself for government, 
even unto eternal life. I find this is required ; every one 
that lives under the gospel may consider so, and ought to 
consider so. This light shines into every one's face that 
lives under the gospel. 

^* And then hath every one of us to consider further, — 
but for this mighty turn I find for myself no power; I 
ought to turn to God through Christ, but I cannot; not 
through natural impotency, but moral ; for this can be 
resolved only into disinclination of will. My will is dis- 
inclined, bent another way ; 1 must tear myself off from 
those ways of sin that I have run in ; I cannot alter the 
bent of my own heart, no more than a leopard can his 
spots, or a blackmoor his skin. Here is the great stress 
and hinge of this case. That must be done, or 1 am lost, 
which 1 myself cannot do. But such an one hath yet fur- 
ther to 'consider : I find it is charged vipon me to return, to 
come back to God through Christ ; to repent towards God, 
to believe in his Son. I find these things are charged upon 
me; and my reason and conscience cannot but tell me, that 
that impotency which only lies in a disaffected disinclined 
will, can never excuse me from such duty. That is the 
very sum of all malignity itself; a will against my duty; a 
will against the good and acceptable will of God ; this car- 
ries all the malignity of .hell in it, to have such a will. 
Therefore this ill habit and bent of my will can by no 
means in the world invalidate the obligation of those laws 
and precepts, that bind me to repentance and faith in the 
Son of God ; they lie upon me as a matter of indispensable 
duty still. That such an one hath to consider and think 

SER. xvn.) No Hope but in Divine Help. 23 

Then nothing can be more obvious than to consider 
iurther, — 

" If I have such things lying upon me as matter of most 
apparent and indispensable duty, for which I have no pre- 
sent power, nothing remains to me but to offer at my duty ; 
otherwise I lay myself under the manifest guilt of most 
insolent rebellion : for I cannot but say, that a sinner is 
righteously enjoined to repent. If it were great iniquity in 
me first to offend, it is most apparent duty to repent of my 
liaving offended ; and if God offer to me his own Son to be 
to me a Saviour and a Ruler both together, surely it is most 
justly enjoined upon me that I receive him as such, that 
1 rely upon him as a Saviour, and subject myself to him as 
a Ruler. I have nothing to say against the equity, rea- 
sonableness, and obligingness of these laws of his. Why, 
then, if they do lay actual obligation upon me, and I feel 
no present power in my own soul to comply with them ; but 
cannot but be sensible of impotency, to wit, a disinclined 
heart. What ? I offer at turning to God ? I may as well 
offer at removing a mountain. Here is a difficulty invin- 
cible to me ; a power that 1 can by no means overcome; a 
carnal, corrupt inclination, carrying me another way, and 
that strengthened by all the infernal powers of hell and 
darkness too ; for every one that is turned is " turned from 
darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God." 
Acts, xxvi. 18. And who hath " delivered us from the 
power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of 
his dear Son." Coloss. i. 13. A mighty turn this is ! And 
when the law saith tome, Repent; when it saith. Turn, 
believe, receive Christ ; subject thyself to him; rely upon 
him. If 1 look into myself I find myself dead; " You 
hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins ;" 
Eph. ii. I, 2. where all have naturally their conversations^ 
" according to the course of the world, and the prince of the 
power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of 
disobedience." What shall I do in this case against all the 
power of my own indwelling corruption, and all combined 
powers of the hellish infernal kingdom, that labour to the 
uttermost to keep me oft' from God, to keep me off from 
Christ, that I may never come to a closure ? What is to 
be done in this case ? Why, the mentioned considerations 
are most obvious ; to wit, those great evangelical precepts 
requiring nothing but matter of most plain and indispen- 
sable duty, from which a disinclined will is no excuse, but 
rather the highest aggravation imaginable of my iniquity 


and guilt, if I comply not ; so as that I am held under a 
strict tie to do what the evangelical law requires and 
charges upon me. Nothing is (I say) plainer, and more 
distinctly in view, than that 1 am to offer at what I cannot 
myself effect; otherwise I add insolent rebellion to all my 
former indisposition. And I find this is the plain meaning 
of the commands, as they are explicated by superadded 
promises. " Turn ye at my reproof." Prov. i. 23. What, I 
alone? What, I by myself? — No; do you turn; do as 
much as in you is ; put yourselves into a turning posture ; 
and " I will pour out my Spirit upon you ; and I will make 
known my words unto you." 

And to excite and raise hope higher in this case, the 
poor wretch hath to consider this : 

" It is the God of all grace that I am now to apply my- 
self to ; the God that is rich in mercy, and that is the Father 
of mercies : and again, 1 am to apply myself to him for 
the concernments of my soul; of an immortal spirit, that 
he hath put into me, who is himself the Father of Spirits. 
Why should 1 not expect he should be kind to his own off- 
spring f — a poor wandering soul ; a degenerate, apostate 
spirit, that is sensible of having apostatized, that is now 
aiming to return and to come back to him? Why should 
not 1 expect him to be merciful, to be helpful to a poor 
soul that sees itself lost if he do not help, — if he do not 
put forth his hand and draw me into union with him, and 
with his Son, in whom he knows only I must live, and 
without which union 1 am left still under a necessity of 
perishing ? And here is this to be considered, — he is more 
nearly related to this spirit of mine than to my flesh, more 
nearly to this soul of mine than to my outward man. I 
have found him kind and compassionate to my flesh and 
outward man. This is fit to be suggested to any man's 
soul that begins to awaken and consider his case ; and, fur- 
ther, to say within himself. Thou hast nothing to do but to 
hope in the divine mercy ; and thou hast already found the 
Father of mercies merciful to thy meaner and baser part. 
How hast thou lived all this while in this world ? It was 
by him that thou didst live, and through him thou wast 
born ; and thou hast hung upon him ever since thou hang- 
edst upon thy mother's breast. Where hast thou had thy 
bread for a day, and day by day, but from him ? Where 
hast thou had thy breath every moment ? thy breath was 
continually in his hand. He that hath been so compas- 
sionate to that flesh of thine without thy seeking, will he 

SKR. XVII.) Hope honours Cod. 241 

inot be compassionate to thy soul, if thou dost seek him, — 
if thou dost crave, — if thou dost cry, and tell him, Here 
is one of the souls that thou hast made, ready to perish 
under the tyranny of a cainal inclination, and under the 
power of the great destroyer of souls f Is there no place 
for hope in this case ? though the case be a distressed case, 
it plainly speaks itself not to be a desperate case; will not 
he, who is the God of all grace, shew compassion to a soul 
that is aiming to cora€ back to him upon his call, and when 
he calleth him, though he can come but faintly, struggle 
but weakly ; though he can but aim to come r" 

And, again, you have this to consider to found and raise 
hope; that you do him the highest homage that in your 
case and circumstances you are capable of doing, when 
vou throw yourselves upon his mercy ; and it is that which 
he is most highly pleased with. " He takes pleasure in 
them that fear him, and in them that hope in his mercy;" 
a scripture, that any soul which begins to have an awakened 
sense of the state of his own case, ought to have as a front- 
Jet before his eyes, and engraven (as it were) upon the 
falms of his hands. This ought to be considejed ; Though 
cannot coauply with him as I should, I cannot do such 
things as are just and righteous, (which a most unexcep- 
tionable, evangelical law, doth ask for, and require, and 
challenge,) yet I am willing to do him all the homage I am 
capable of, by casting myself upon his mercy, and by 
making him my ultimate and last hope. Say you so? 
(saith God,) Is this your posture ? Now you please me 
beyond all things that you were capable of doing besides, 
or any other way. " He takes pleasure in them that fear 
him, and in them that hope in his mercy." This is to ac- 
knowledge the divine mercy to be a bottomless abyss, never 
to be fathomed ; you hope in his mercy, when otherwise 
you had no hope in any thing else. This is that wherein 
he takes pleasure; this is to acknov/ledge him to be God, 
to give him the proper glory of his Deity; and own him to 
be infinite and immense even in goodness, that great excel- 
lency and perfection of his nature. 

And admit that all considerations, all the actual thoughts 
you have of all these things, and your revolving them to 
and fro in your own minds, are all, as yet, but within 
the compass, enabling you to raise an hope upon so plain 
grounds as these are, which lie in view before you ; yet 
every one sees that these things have a manifest tendency 
to the soul's turning to God through Christ; and so lie in 



your way to that special grace, wherein the great turn itself 
doth lie. And then 1 add again, in the last place, that. 

Answer 8. That, whenever that great turn is brought. about 
wherein is the great effort of grace, which is most special 
and peculiar, it is manifest that an holy hope is one of the 
things that doth first appear and shew forth itself in this 
great turn. For the soul is to close with God in Christ ; but 
this is impossible to it, but as it hopes fur acceptance. This 
can never be the act of a despairing soul. If the soul look 
upon God and Christ with absolute despair, it is hardened 
with a diabolical hatred ; and can never close, can never 
unite with him but when it opens itself to receive Christ, 
and all the fulness of God. It is hope that opens it, and 
hath the great influence into the sincere covenanting act, 
the vital covenanting act, by whicli the soul takes God in 
Christ, and surrenders and gives up itself to God, through 
Christ. And that is sincere and so continues, or doth not 
continue, according as the soul hopes or hopes not, or 
hopes truly and fully, or otherwise. 

The expressions to this purpose are worthy to be written 
in letters of gold, which we find in Psalm Ixxviii. 7, 8. 
Where vve have the very root of sincerity, and the very 
root of apostacy pointed out to us both together, even with 
manifest reference to the truth of the thing I am now in- 
culcating to you : '^ That they might set their hope in God, 
and not forget the works of God ; but keep his command- 
ments; and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and 
rebellious generation, a generation that set not their heart 
aright; and whose spirit was not stedfast with God." The 
design of all this is to signify, that God would have a peo- 
ple to succeed from that root and stock that should be bet- 
ter than their fathers ; but wherein should they be belter i 
or should they come to be better? Why, their fathers were 
stubborn and rebellious ; they were false and unsteadfast in 
the covenant of God ; they did covenant, but it was on 
terms : '' They did but flatter him with their mouths, (as is 
afterwards expressed,) and lied to him with their tongues." 
Their hearts were not sincere ; there was no fixedness and. 
stability in the covenant of God. And. wherein should 
their children be better? Why, I will have them be taught 
and instructed, and to learn, from all the methods of the 
dispensations of God towards their forefathers, to set their 
hope in God. This was the great thing their fathers did 
not ; and therefore continued rebels still ; and when they 
seemed to covenant were false and treacherous, and un- 

SER. xvn.) Hope covemints with God. 243 

stedfast in their covenant with God. But if ever there 
come to be sincere covenanting, it must come from their 
setting of their hope in God as the " God of all grace ;" 
as the God '' rich in mercy;" to whom, as such, (each 
must say,) *■*■ I do, through his Christ, adjoin my soul, and 
tell him. Here I will live; here I will die; I am come to 
this point, brought to thee by the invitation of thine own 
word and gospel. It hath bid me repent and believe, and 
required me to yield myself to God, and to take God for 
mine. I do all this upon the warrant of, and in obedience 
to, the authority of the law of grace, that supreme, that 
benign law." This is that which makes the soul stedfast ; 
brings it to a point; now it finds this is a work that will 
hold, when the soul is setting its hope in God, and unites 
itself by covenant with him. 

And so much with reference to that first objection, which 
served me to introduce these sundry things, which 1 hope 
will be of use to those that consider them. 

Objection 9.. But, in the second place, it may be further 
objected : If hope,— the hope of being saved, will have such 
an influence upon conversion in order thereunto, hoWcomes 
it to pass, that when the most do so generally profess an 
hope of being saved, yet so few are converted hereby ? Is 
hope like to have such an influence upon conversion in 
order to salvation, when we find that men do very gene- 
rally hope to be saved, and have very great hope of being 
saved ; yet many of them (the great'er part of them it may 
be) are never converted ? 

Answer. To that there are some things to be said, also, 
that it may be of equal use to us, to understand and con- 
sider. As, 

1. Therefore it is, that many hope to be saved who are 
never coiiverted by their hope^i because they do maim the 
object of their hope ; that is, whereas they should hope 
first to be converted, and then, secondly, so to be saved, 
they hope to be saved without being converted. And so 
one great part of the object of their hope is left out ; and 
their hope, therefore, is not only not subservient, but is 
obstructive to their conversion ; and so, consequently, to 
their salvation too. It doth (I say) not only subserve it, 
but hinders it. They hope they shall be saved,— that they 
make the abstract and separate object of their hope, ex- 
cluding and shutting out from that salvation all conside- 
rations of the sanctity, the purity, the holiness, Avhich the 
conversion, that they should conjoin therewith, carries in 

R 2 


it. And this doth not only not help, but hinders both their 
conversion and salvation. It doth not help it, because the 
hope of being saved without it is never likely to make them 
look after being converted. And it hinders it, because it 
cannot but provoke God to keep at a distance from them, 
and move his displeasure to the highest against them ; for 
they do in this kind of hope, not only not hope according to 
his word, but they hope against it, so as that their very 
hope is the giving him and his word the lie ; the worst and 
most provoking thing that can be thought. Their very hope 
is saying to themselves, " Peace, peace," though they walk 
after the imaginations of their own hearts ; though they 
never alter their course, and though their hearts be never 
changed, yet they shall have peace. This (I say) is to give 
the lie to the divine truth, and the word of his truth ; and 
so carries in it matter of the highest provocation ; as that 
scripture expresseth it, " If any man think" and speak, 
though it be but in his own heart, though he do but mut- 
ter it inwardly, though he do but whisper it to himself, " I 
shall have peace though 1 walk in the way of my own 
heart, and after the imagination of my own heart, to add 
drunkenness to thirst ;" to add the act of sin to the desire of 
sinning. Deut. xxix. 18, 19. My jealousy shall smoke 
against that man, (though he doth not speak out, though 
he doth but say it in heart,) for he doth me the greatest 
injury in his heart imaginable; his conceptions of me are 
ignominious ; he makes me an impure deity, that will give 
peace to him that walketh on in his wicked ways ; so that I 
should not only be reconciled to him in his wicked way, but 
I am supposed to be reconcileable to his wickedness, — to 
that wicked way in which he walketh. I am supposed untrue 
to myself; he makes me a foolish deity, that all the threats 
and menaces that are in my word against daring, insolent 
sinners, are only indeed terrica lamenta, bug-bears, to 
frighten children and fools with ; therefore (saith he) my 
jealousy shall smoke against that man ; I will not spare 
him, I mean to paradigmatize such a man as this, and to 
let all the world know, by the severity of my vengeance 
against such an one, that I am what he did not think me to 
be, a true, a holy, a just, and jealous God. That hope that 
men have of being saved without ever being converted, or 
turned to God through Christ, and breaking off from the 
way of sin, it is of this import, as you have heard. It car- 
ries this secret aspect and language in it, so detracting, so 
reproaching and ignominious to the true, and holy, and 

SER. xvii.) False Hope exposed. 245 

jealous God. And therefore it is not to be thought strange, 
if men have such an hope as this, and it never doth them 
good. They will never be the better for it; it never makes 
them good men in this world, nor happy in the other. And 

Aiiswer 2. Besides this horrid maim and flaw, which is in 
the object of their hope, (separating therefrom what should 
be conjoined therewith,) there is an equally great defect in 
their very hope itself, which makes it not strange, that it 
should not have an influence into their conversion : for, if 
the matter should be examined, what are these men's hopes ? 
It resolves into this; to wit, it is nothing else, but only no 
feaj- ; it is a negative hope, and no positive thing ; an hope 
that consists in nothing else, but only not fearing. They 
find they do not fear their being miserable, and that is all. 
Jt is very true, indeed, there is nothing that is more common 
language in the profanest mouths, than that form of asse- 
veration, as they hope to be saved. But let the meaning of 
those very words be examined and inquired into, and it 
dwindles into nothing :_Hope to be saved ? What do you 
mean by this hoping to be saved ? Let the matter be but 
grasped, do but grasp at it, and you find this hope signi- 
fies nothing but only no fear. There is many an one with 
whom, in reference to many things there is neither fear nor 
hope; and it is so here : as from a country that is either 
merely imaginary, or that you know nothing of, you never 
hope for good, or fear any evil from thence. You are 
equally void of any hope, or of any fear, who doth either 
hope any good, or fear any evil from an Utopian land ? 
Ihis IS the case with most of these confident persons, that 
\vill briskly say, upon all occasions, As I hoped to be saved, 
3t IS so and so. And what is this hope to be saved ? It is 
only their no fear to be damned. It is true they have no 
fear of being damned; and this no fear they- call hope, as 
2f nothing must signify something. This is the plain state 
of the case; that hope that is to influence salvation, and, 
in order thereunto, conversion must be a real, active, vigo- 
rous principle in the soul ; not a mere nullity, not a non- 
entity, — as no fear is,— never to fear is. 

But you will say, Where lies the difference between these 
things .? I answer, it is manifold and vast. As, 

1. As to the positive hope that there should be, it is 
grounded in faith ; but this (no fear) is grounded in infi- 
delity ; that is grounded in religion, this is grounded in 
atheism and irreligion. A vast difference! He that se- 

R 3 


liously hopeSj hopes because he beheves the word of God 
is true, and that such and such things have a real founda- 
tion there ; and because he hath an inward reverence and 
adoration of God ; and therefore, upon such and such dis- 
coveries of him as he is pleased to make of himself, and 
the impression on his heart suitably, there is a tempera- 
ment in the soul towards him, made up of reverence and 
love, with some kind of dependence and trust. This is all 
founded in faith, and in religious sentiments; but this 
same [no fear] is founded in nothing but atheism and irre- 
ligion ; they have no fear of that which they really believe 
is nothing, or they think will never be. And then again, 

2. This [no fear] is nothing, whereas this hope that is 
required is a most positive thing, a principle of great live- 
liness, vigour, and activity, in its own sphere. That which 
is nothing can work nothing, effect nothing, in order to 
conversion or salvation. And again, 

3. This [no fear] may signify nothing at all more than 
only the soul's unconcernedness for any such matter j 
Avhereas, real hope signifies its great concernedness, its 
deep intention of mind and thought about such things. 
There is nothing does more intend a man's thoughts to- 
wards any thing than real hope doth ; but this [no fear] 
may signify his not minding any such conceriiments 
at all ; his being totally unconcerned about them. So it 
may in many things, in which one apprehends himself to 
have no real interest one way or other, and so, accordingly, 
is in the temper of his mind indifferent in reference to such 
things. There are many such concernments of which we 
are totally ignorant, have no real knowledge or thought ; 
the concernments of some remote countries, at the utter- 
most ends of the earth, which we know nothing of, under- 
stand nothing of their affairs; we are accordingly altoge- 
ther unconcerned what is done there, and utterly without 
the exercise of hope or fear, as to the events of things 
among them. But it is not so with us in reference to the 
concernments that are under our notice. There is nobody 
so indifferent in reference to France, Germany, Flanders, 
and Savoy, as to the occurrences there, and in the conclave, 
and nearer home in Ireland. There is nobody that useth 
thought in those things that is so unconcerned about 
them, but that there will be various agitations of hope 
and fear this way; and that, according to the aspect of 
'things among us, nobod}'^ can be supposed so indifl'erent 

among us, that there should be, in reference to these 

SER. XVII.) Hope, itifiuentiaL 247 

things, neither hope nor fear. But every one, according to 
the wish and inclination of his own mind, hath Ills hope or 
liis fear variously stirring in liim thereunto. But it is pos- 
sible there may be a total vacancy of fear where there is no 
concern at all. And as there is no fear, so there is no hope ; 
that is, the things are never minded, never thought of. 

And this is the true state of the case with the most in 
reference to the concernments of another world, as if it 
were a mere Utopia. They have, in reference thereunto, 
nothing of hope or of fear, but lie all their days in a stu- 
pid dream. And these are the persons, I confess, about 
whom I have the least hope, and the most fear; to wit, 
they who in reference to the concerns of their own souls, 
have neither hope nor fear; but lie in a drowsy sleep all 
their time, and dream away all their days ; and whereas 
they talk of hoping to be saved, that hope is nothing else 
but only a not being afraid to perish^ because they appre- 
hend no danger, because they have nullified to themselves 
the great objects of hope and fear. 

This, therefore, doth not signify the no influence of hope, 
but it signifies only the inefficacy, or no influence of no 
hope ; for that hope is no hope which they miscall by that 
name. The most that they can make of it is, that it is no 
fear ; but, as it is no fear, so it is no hope neither; that is, 
there is a vacancy equal both of hope and fear; and no- 
thing makes their case more deplorable than this, that they 
are likely to perish even while there is hope, for want of 
hope. And this is the forlorn, dismal state of many that 
live under the gospel ; they cannot hope without the in- 
tention of hope; there can be no rational or human hope, 
much less that hope that reaches to the pitch of common 
grace; without the intention of thought, their thoughts 
will not be engaged ; and one day passeth with them after 
another, and not a serious thought taken up. Shall I be 
saved, or shall I perish? What will become of me when I 

But I hope it is not generally so with you. It would be 
very sad if it were; when you hear so many Lord's days 
together, one after another, so much of salvation ; one 
comes and preacheth to you upon that great question, 
"-Are there few that shall be saved ?" and another comes 
and preacheth to you upon that expostulatory passage, 
*' How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?" 
and a third, he comes and preacheth to you upon this asser- 
tion, " We are saved byTiope :" nothing but being saved, 

R 4 


nothing but salvation, rings in your ears from one Lord's^ 
clay to another. And it will be an amazing thing, if, after 
all this, we have no concernment about being saved ; so 
that we find no room, no place for the exercise of hope or 
fear J hope of being saved, or fear of perishing by not 
being saved. 

But if the true import of the word salvation were under- 
stood, and received into our souls, it would make work 
among us ; it would find us exercise either for hope or 
fear; when we have so much spoken of salvation as we 
find in scripture; and when the name of the Son of God is 
signahzed to us, and celebrated among us as a Saviour, (he 
shall be called Jesus, for he shall be a Saviour to save his 
people from their sins,) why, every one that would but use 
his understanding, would say, What doth this word signify? 
VVhat is the meaning of all this talk of salvation ? of a Sa- 
viour, and of being saved; what doth it signify? It 
plainly signifies that all this world is likely to be shortly in 
a great flame, and that the Judge is at the door ; that hell 
will shortly swallow up all a whole world of ungodly men, 
except that residue that shall be caught up in the clouds, to 
meet their Redeemer in the air, and so to be for ever with 
the Lord. And if we would but allow the word salvation 
its true import and significancy, it would be far from us 
to be without hope, in reference to being saved. And then 
we should come to understand somewhat of the significancy 
and of the influence of this hope, the hope of salvation, in 
order to our conversion first, and then to ouu salvation itself 
in the final state. 


llOMANS VIII. 24. 

We are saved hy hope. 

Having proposed to shew the influence that hope hath 
unto salvation, by shewing both what influence it hath 
upon conversion, that brings us into a state of salvation ; 

* l*rcached June 21, 1091. 

SER. xviii.) Ilojye before and after Conversion. 249 

and then what influence it hath upon the Christian's per- 
severance even to the end, by which we are continued in 
that state, and so finally saved. We have hitherto insisted 
upon the former, and are now to proceed to the latter; to 
speak to that influence which hope hath upon a Chris- 
tian's perseverance in that holy course through which he 
is to pass on to the state of final glory and blessedness. 
And here it cannot but be obvious to you, from what 
hath been formerly said, that hope, as it refers to the 
perseverance of a Christian, must needs considerably diff*er 
from hope, as it hath at first influence into conversion ; or 
a person's entrance into the Christian state, both in the 
nature and in the object ; or in respect of the object of the 
one and of the other hope. 

1. In respect of the nature of the one and the other, that 
hope that doth influence conversion, and is necessarily 
presupposed to it, (if you consider the nature of it,) hath 
no more in it than, what doth belong to a merely human, 
rational hope, assisted only by common grace ; for special 
grace cannot be supposed to be before conversion or rege- 
neration ; but even that human rational hope, it hath its 
influence and usefulness towards conversion, as other things 
belonging to the human nature have; not only our minds 
and understandings, by which we are capable of thinking 
and considering of things that are to affect, and by which 
we are to be wrought upon, in order to conversion. But even 
to go lower than that, our very external senses themselves ; 
" faith Cometh by hearing," and so it may come by read- 
ing the word and gospel, which is to be the means of con- 
version and salvation, to our souls. But if you look to the 
nature of that hope which is all along to influence the course 
of a converted person, one that is become sincerely a living 
Christian, that hope must needs be a part of the new man, 
or of the new nature, which is in regeneration communi- 
cated and imparted to the soul. And, accordingly, 

2. The object of the one and the other hope must needs 
very much diff'er, even supposing the soul to be awakened, 
and that God is beginning to deal with it in order to con- 
version ; it must be supposed to have some hope concerning 
the issue of this treaty, wherein it is now engaged with the 
great God about so important a matter. Otherwise (as hath 
been inculcated unto you again and again) it is impossible 
it should ever turn ; converting and turning to God is not 
the act of a despairing, but of an hoping soul ; and the 
dispositions thereunto do suppose some hope. And the 



object of this hope must be understood to be God as noW 
to be reconciled. The object of the other hope that doth 
influence a Christian's after course unto final salvation, is 
God hereafter to be enjoyed. God to be reconciled is the 
object of that hope, which a person hath while God is deal- 
ing with him in order to conversion ; to wit^ we must sup- 
pose him awakened ; and being so, considers and bethinks 
himself, I am an offending, guilty 'creature ; the God 
that made me hath just matter of controversy with me; 
will he be reconciled^ or will he not ? will he always hold 
me guilty, will he bear himself as an enemy and an aven- 
ger to a poor guilty creature as I am ? or will he pardon ? 
Will he forgive ? Will he she\y mercy ? I hope he will, 
saith the poor trembling wretch. And then he turns at 
length. When God is dealing with the soul in order to 
conversion, it hath this hope in the midst of a great deal 
of fear and doubt, — Who knows but God will shew mercy 
to a returning soul .? And thereupon it turns. So the ob- 
ject of his hope is now God to be reconciled, — present re- 

But the object of this hope after conversion, all along, 
through his succeeding course, is God to be enjoyed in the 
final state ; now more and more, and perfectly hereafter in 
that state, which is to be final and eternal. 

And this the very state of the case itself doth plainly 
enough suggest to us. There must be this difference also, 
as to the object of the one hope and the other, according 
to the difference in the very nature of this and the other 
hope. The soul before regeneration, it can generally affect 
and covet to be happy, (which is natural to man,) and 
dread to be miserable; it is capable of being afraid of 
wrath and torment; and being so, the state of the case, 
as it is in view before it, not excluding hope, it can enter- 
tain some hope, an human rational hope amidst all that 
fear. And hereupon, the main thing that it is exercised 
and taken up about, is the present state of its case, whe- 
ther God will be reconciled or no ; but with final refer- 
ence too, to its future state, that is, especially the privative 
part of it, salvation and escape from eternal wrath. It can 
very well entertain hopes, and admit of agitations of affec- 
tions to what goes no higher than so, from the very nature 
of such a subject, an intelligent, reasonable soul, that is 
capable of happiness, and in general of desiring it; and 
that apprehends itself liable to misery, and that cannot, 
without dread and abhorrence^ think of that. 

sEn. xviii.) Hope a Mark of Sonship. 251 

But in the mean time, before regeneration it is incapa- 
ble of any such workings and dispositions as do belong to 
the holy divine nature. It cannot yet love God ; it cannot 
yet desire a felicity in him ; it cannot covet to be like him, 
or to have that happiness in view which consists in the 
vision of him. This only belongs to its state after it is re- 
generate. When once a person comes to be a son, is 
brought into a state of sonship, and hath a divine nature 
imparted and communicated to him in regeneration ; we 
see what his sense is, what a kind of happiness he is ca- 
pable of relishing, and what, accordingly, his hope is. 
1 John, iii. 1. When the apostle had told us, in the close 
of the foregoing chapter, **^ Everyone that doth righteous- 
ness is born of God ;" every one that hath the same holy 
nature, which belongs peculiarly, and in its highest per- 
fection, to God alone ; every one that hath any participa- 
tion of that nature, doth thereby appear to be born of God, 
(or as the same matter is elsewhere otherwise expressed 
to be of God ;) why, that being supposed, in the beginning 
of the next chapter, he breaks out into that transport and 
admiration, wherein we find him introducing the matter 
that follows : " Behold, what manner of love is this, that 
we should be called the sons of God !" How come we to 
be called so ? not as having a mere title, a name conferred 
upon us, and no more, but by having a new nature, a di- 
vine nature imparted. Adoption is founded in regenera- 
tion. There is no such thing as adoption that doth not 
presuppose regeneration and the participation of a new, 
divine, holy nature from God. 

Now, this being communicated, the happiness that such 
are hereupon capable of is, and so much (though we do not 
know what it will be in the perfect state fully yet) we do 
^ know concerning it, that we shall be like him, (as it there 
is,) " for we shall see him as he is." , This, they who 
are his regenerate sons, are capable of understanding, and 
relishing. And thereupon you see what their hope is ; 
" every one that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, 
as he is pure." The hope that a regenerate person, a son, 
hath concerning him, is, that " he shall be like him, and 
see him as he is." 

This is a very considerable difference; though there is 
an hope (as hath been said) that hath influence upon con- 
version and salvation itself, yet there is an hope that after- 
wards hath influence upon the Christian's perseverance 
through the whole of his after course. These two do very 


greatly differ, according as the state of the case doth ; the 
one being part of the new creature, or of the new man, 
or principle belonging to the new nature, which is now 
regenerated. The other may be only an human, rational 
hope, assisted by common grace, tending towards, nnd 
improveable in the methods of God's gracious communi- 
cations unto the other, heightened up unto ibe other; so, 
whereas the principal exercise of the soul under these pre- 
vious workings, which lead and tend to conversion, is taken 
up about a present peace and reconciliation with God ; but 
its workings afterwards, under the influence of that nobler 
and more sublime hope, is taken up about a final felicity 
and blessedness in him ; and so " rejoices in hope of the 
glory of God," as the matter is expressed, Rom. v. 2. and 
"obtaining of salvation by Christ Jesus, (1 Tim. ii. 10.) 
■with eternal glory ;" that being the thing whereunto such 
an one finds himself actually called. That cannot but be 
his hope, that is called to an everlasting kingdom, and the 
glory of God by and through Christ ,lesus; the call pro- 
ceeding from the God of all grace: *^ the God of all grace, 
who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, 
after ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect." 1 Pet. v. 
10. That which is the final term of his calHng, is the hope 
of it, as the apostle speaks, where he prays for the Ephe- 
sians, that God would give them the Spirit of wisdom and 
revelation, that the eyes of their minds might be enlight- 
ened, and that " they might know the hope of his calling." 
Eph. i. 18. It is another kind of knowledge they are capa- 
ble of having concerning the " hope of their calling," or 
what they are to hope for in the state to which they are 
called after regeneration, and which proceeds from that 
divine light which is suitable to a regenerate soul, as such. 
I say, it is quite another sort of hope from that which it 
was capable of before ; and so they are quite another sort 
of things, about which the soul is exercised and taken up. 
And, in short, that which a person once converted and 
brought home to God, is entertained and taken up with 
through the remaining part of his Christian course, is the 
future state of things ; the invisible state. As he is to be 
saved by hope, (as the text speaks,) brought on to final 
salvation by the continual influence of hope ; and to have 
this influence upon his whole course unto final salvation, 
is the immediate product of faith; the soul believes the 
word of God reveahng such and such things tliat are out of 
sight, and that come not within the view of common eyes; 

SEU. xviTi.) Advantages of Hope to a Christian Life. 253 

and believing the word of promise, it hereupon hopes for 
the things promised, reacheth forth in vehement aspirings 
towards these things, and contends against the difficulties 
that lie in the way of attainment. And so we are told the 
holy soul, the just one, is to live by his faith. Heb. x. 37. 
And that we are told in the very beginning of the next 
chapter, is " the substance of things hoped for, and the evi- 
dence of the things not seen." Heb. xi. 1. Agreeably to 
what the text saith, " we are saved by hope ; but hope that 
is seen, is not hope." It is hope pitched upon unseen 
things, upon the invisible state of things, by which a per- 
son is sustained, borne up through the whole of his course 
in this world, unto final salvation. '' What a man sees, why 
doth he yet hope for ?" It is a matter relating to an unseen 
state of things, the heavenly state, which is to influence a 
Christian all along, till he reach heaven. 

And so much being premised, I shall now, for the clear- 
ing of this to you, (that as hope hath an influence, in order 
-to conversion, so it hath afterwards, a continual influence 
upon perseverance, unto final salvation,) do ' these two 
things; 1st. Shew how, and in what way, hope hath this 
influence. And then 2dly. Shew you how necessary this 
influence is to this purpose ; to wit, a Christian's perseve- 
rance; his holding on the prescribed course, till he reach 
the blessedness of it in salvation. 

I. I shall shew you what influence it hath, or how it comes 
to have influence to this purpose. And whereas it is plain 
and evident, that hope cannot sustain a Christian in his 
course, if it be not sustained itself; I shall upon this head, 
raore distinctly, do these two things; 1st. Shew what ad- 
vantages such hope, kept up in life and vigour in the soul, 
doth affbrd a Christian's continuing in his course, in the 
ways of God, till he reach the end of it: and then shall, 
2ndly. Shew what encouragement a Christian hath so to 
hope; or what it is, whereupon all along his hope is to sus- 
tain itself, that it may sustain him. 

1. For the former of these. What advantages such an 
hope, kept up in life and vigour, is apt to aflbrd a Christian, 
for the continuing of him in his way, or that he may perse- 
vere unto the end. Here 1 shall let you see, that it hath 
influence upon the many gracious dispositions, which it is 
necessary should be, and should be continued in the soul, 
in order to its persevering in the way of life. I shall in- 
stance in such things as do most directly refer to this very 
purpose, the keeping of a person with God, in that holy 


course, into which, by conversion, he hath been brought. 

(1.) An habitual seriousness. This is a gracious temper and 
disposition of spirit, that conduceth greatly to perseverance, 
and which is continually influenced by hope. By a serious 
temper of spirit, I mean (as the thing itself doth suffici- 
ently speak to any one's understanding) a considering tem- 
per of mind ; that is, a serious mind or spirit, that can con- 
sider, and is apt to consider things ; nothing is more neces- 
sary to a Christian's perseverance in his course. Apostacy 
and defection from God is never so likely to prevail, as 
when persons do begin to remit the intention of their minds, 
as to the considering of things which they are so much 
constantly concerned to consider, in reference to their pre- 
sent states god-ward, and their future and final state. 
When once the soul is relaxed and loosened from the ob- 
jects, which it should be principally exercised, and taken 
up about, then comes its danger. The unthinking soul 
falls into mischief, is liable to be caught by this, and that, 
and the other snare. If there be a disposition to ponder 
things, while a considering frame of spirit is preserved, the 
soul is safe. But what shall oblige it to consider those 
things that are most preservative of it, which have great- 
est aptness in them to its preservation, and its being 
kept from destructive snares ? What can engage it here- 
unto, so probably and so strongly, as a continual, lively, 
vigorous hope ? 

You may see what that will signify to that purpose, by 
that of the Apostle, " Gird up the loins of your minds, be 
sober, and hope to the end." 1 Peter i. 13. " Gird up the 
loins of your minds," a most emphatical expression, to sig- 
nify a temper of spirit, most intent upon consideration. 
Then is the soul in a considering posture, when the loins 
of your minds are girt up, when fluid thoughts are collected, 
as more fluid garments are collected, and bound about a 
man by a girdle : when the more volative thoughts are 
drawn in, and made to centre upon the things that we are 
more deeply concerned to consider. Then may we truly 
say, this soul is composed to a special sobriety. These ex- 
pressions do expound one another, gird up the loins of your 
minds, and be sober; a mind girt up in its loins is a consi- 
dering mind, and that lies in nothing more fitly, and more 
truly, than in a certain sort of spiritual sobriety. And how 
is this influenced, and maintained in the soul ? Why, by a 
continual liope, — hope to the end. This is naturally so, that 

SER. xviii.) Importcmce of Resolution. 255 

the hope we have of any design whatsoever, intends our 
minds, and collects them to the business : but if we have 
no hope, we are off from it. Whatsoever we have no hope 
of we abandon, we lay aside thoughts concerning it; it is 
to no purpose to consider, or think any longer about a 
business, in reference to which we have no hope. But as 
long as there is hope, there will be an agitation of thoughts, 
and the mind will turn itself this way and that, revolving 
things over and over. There will certainly therefore, be a 
considering habit of mind preserved, as long as hope re- 
mains in any liveliness and vigour, in reference to the great 
concerns of eternity that we have before us. And, 
y^ (2.)To our continuing in our course(if webe by conversion 
and regeneration brought into a truly Christian course) a 
steadfast resolution is of most constant necessity. That we 
may continue our course, we must be most steadfastly re- 
solved that through the grace of God, we will not be put 
out of our way. There must be a " cleaving to God, with 
full purpose of heart." Acts ii. 23. And ii is plain that a 
continual hope must influence this resolution ; Why will I 
not forsake this way? Why am I (with dependance upon 
the grace of God) resolved to persist in it, that nothing 
shall turn me out of it? Why, 1 have a great hope before 
me, I hope for great things by persisting in this way. It 
is a way that leads to a blessed end, an end which the 
grace of God hath encouraged me to hope I shall in this 
way attain unto. The Apostle exhorts the Colossians that 
they continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and not 
moved from the hope of the gospel. Col. i. 23. Why 
was this new faith (as it was a new thing in the world at 
that time) to be so steadfastly stuck unto ? why must there 
be so resolved an adherence to it? Why, there is the 
highest, and greatest, and most glorious hope held up in 
view in that gospel, or by that gospel which is the object 
of this faith; and which therefore claims and challenges 
this steadfast adherence to the thing which it represents. 
Therefore, you are not to be moved from what is contained 
in the gospel, because it contains the matter of so high an 

It is not tempting you by trifles, or shadows, by small or 
little things; is your hoped advantage, lying in this gospel 
that is now held up in view before you, which is to keep 
you unmoved. The object contains in itself tlie reason of 
the act, and the frame and disposition of the heart re^iuired 
in reference thereunto. And, 


(3.) Love to God will certainly have a most powerful ifl* 
fluence upon a Christian's love to God. Perseverance; — I 
cannot leave the ways of God, because I love him ; he hath 
won my heart, I cannot think of departing from those ways 
in which 1 have met with him, and an acquaintance hath 
been brought about between him and me. And nothing 
can signify more to preserve and keep alive the love of 
God in the soul, in strength and vigour, than such an hope 
godvvard. I hope I shall see him ere long, and be made 
perfectly like him, and see him as he is. And whence is 
this to be hoped for, but from gracious communications 
from himself? I know it must be from his mere kindness, 
a good will to me, if ever I come to be finally happy in him, 
and enjoy him. The hope of so high and great things 
from him, how highly doth it endear him to us? Can I 
forsake that God, turn aside from following him, or walk- 
ing with him, from whom I hope for great things? " He 
that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, as he is pure." 
He makes it his business, so to work out that sin, that is, a 
departing from God; (for that is the notion of sin, aversion 
from God, turning off from him,) the soul would be rid of 
that: and hope maintains and keeps alive the love of God 
in the heart. I still hope for more and more from him, and 
therefore still love him more and more: this holds the soul 
to him. " Experience begets hope, and hope maketh not 
ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in the 
heart, by the Holy Ghost." Rom. v. 4, 5. We love him. 
Why? '' Because he first loved us." 1 John iv. 19. What 
doth that mean ? Is the meaning, that no body loves God, 
till they are assured, or have assurance of his loving them? 
No, that cannot be, there is many a sincere lover of God 
that hath no assurance of his love. But what must it mean 
then ? Why, that (at least) they have the hope of it ; for 
it is most certain, that with absolute despair, there must be 
most conjunct, pure, unmixed hatred. If there be pure 
despair, there will be pure hatred :— nothing but hatred of 
God, where there is nothing but despair of his love. As it 
is in hell, there is despair in perfection, and so there is ha- 
tred in perfection (as one may speak) in that horrid kind. 
The meaning therefore, can only be, " we love him, be- 
cause he first loved us," to wit, because we hope so. It is 
not to be understood, that every one that loves God, hath 
an assurance that he is beloved of him: but he hath the 
hope of it, otherwise he could never love him; and if 
thereupon, the soul doth love him, then it saith, I must 

SER. xviii.) Patience requisite to Perseverance. 257 

never leave him, 1 must cleave to him as long as I live, and 
forever, through all time, and to all eternity' : nothing shall 
separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus 
my Lord; nothing shall break those bonds. And most 
evident it is, that as that love is drawn out into continual 
exercise, it still doth, in all its exercises, run on with the 
exercise, and under the influence, of a continuing hope. 1 
am still expecting greater things from him, and the more 
I expect, the more I love him; and the more I love him, 
the more I am resolved to cleave to him, and never to 
leave him. And, 

(4.) Patience is another requisite to perseverance : and 
hope hath a manifest influence upon that. Patience is 
nothing else but a suffering power, an ability to suflTer ; by 
which our Saviour tells us, we possess our souls, that is, 
save them. It signifies indeed, both present liberty, and 
final safety; and that that possession of our souls in pa- 
tience, preserves them. Possession, in that two-fold sense, 
signifies liberty and self-dominion. He is subject to ano- 
ther's power, that can suffer nothing; but he is master of 
himself that can suffer. If he have an ability to suflfer, then 
he keeps his self-dominion. He can be master of his own 
mind, of his own reason, of his own conscience, of his own 
judgment, of his own faith : but if he can suffer nothing, 
he must resign all, and admit another master, he must enjoy 
his own thoughts, his own sentiments, his own reason, and 
his own conscience no longer. Thence comes apostacy, 
declension from God, his truths, his ways; I cannot suff"er, 
I have no patience, no ability to suffer: then I must quit 
truth, holiness, and every thing, which, by my adherence to 
them, will expose me to the danger of suffering. But it 
there is patience, therein you possess your souls, you will 
thereby keep your liberty and self-dominion ; so you se- 
cure to yourself final and eternal safety : and so keeping 
and possessing the soul, is in opposition to the final losing, 
or its being destroyed, and undone for ever. 

And very plain it is, that hope is of most constant use 
and necessity, to the preserving and continuing this ability 
to suff'er, this power of patience, or this passive power; 
nothing doth so much maintain it as hope. The occasion 
will not last always : I have the prospect of an end, and the 
hopeful prospect of a comfortable and good end. There- 
fore we both labour, and suffer reproach, because we trust, 
or have trusted, (so we read it, hut it ii> in the original, 
because we have hoped,) in the living God. 1 Tim. iv. 10. 

VOL. vui. s 


What a strange sort of men are these, that will endure 
to be so exposed, so scorned, so trampled upon, as they 
that bear the Christian name commonly are ? What is the 
reason of it ? What account will a reasonable man give, 
why he will so expose himself? I will tell you the reason ; 
therefore we labour and suffer reproach, because we hope 
in God, in the living God, and we are pretty well persua- 
ded we shall not finally be losers ; we shall not have an ill 
bargain of it at last. As the same Apostle, when he writes 
himself "an Apostle and servant of Jesus Christ/' seems to 
allow, that he was to doom himself to all the sufferings and 
calamities, that the enemies of the Christian cause could 
load him with, and lay upon him, for his assuming to him- 
self such names of an Apostle and servant of Jesus Christ. 
But why should Paul, that wise and prudent man, that 
learned man, that man of so considerable reputation among 
his own countrymen, why should he come to be written 
among the Apostles and servants of Jesus Christ ? Why, 
saith he, it is in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot 
lie, hath promised. Titus i. 1, 2. I avow myself an Apos- 
tle and servant of Jesus Christ upon this inducement, and 
for this reason, and so I mean to continue unto the end. It 
is the hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, hath 
promised to me. He whose nature doth not allow him to 
deceive, to whom it is impossible to lie, I firmly and se- 
curely hope in him ; and therefore I will readily dispose 
myself to encounter all the difficulties and hardships, which 
the service of Jesus Christ can lay me open to. Again, 

(5.) Contentment with that portion and allotment which 
God affords us in this world, is another great preservative 
from apostacy, or requisite to perseverance. And this is 
very much maintained by hope. If persons decline, and 
turn off from the holy way of the Lord, it is generally this 
world that tempts them. " Demas hath forsaken us, having 
loved this present world." 2 Tim. iv. 8. But if a man be 
well enough satisfied with the portion (whether it be more 
or less) which God hath allotted him of the good things of 
this world, then he is safe from temptation. But how 
shall he come to be satisfied with a lesser portion of the 
things of this world ? Why, it is the hope of enough here- 
after that satisfied him : — 1 have no great things now, nor 
do I matter that, I am not solicitous about it, I hope for 
greater, and a better state. 

What made Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, expose 
themselves to continued wandering, and to dwell in tents; 

sER. xvii.i.) Contentment a Preservative from Jpostact/. 259 

when God had given them a countiy (one of the best in the 
world) by special grant, to have it as their inheritance, yet 
they lived as strangers, even in their own country, dwelling 
in tents ; so as that they declared themselves pilgrims and 
strangers upon earth? What doth this signify and mean? 
Why, this declares plainly, that they seek a country, they 
hope and seek for a better country, than all the world can 
afford them ; Heb. xi. 13. therefore they tell the world, and 
tell it plainly, while we are upon earth, we are but pilgrims 
and strangers here ; the world can tempt us with none of 
its baits : let the things it presents to our view, and makes 
us an offer of, be never so great, never so special, they sig- 
nify nothing with us, for every thing we can touch, that we 
can handle, or have to do with, smells of earth, and we are 
strangers and pilgrims here upon earth. And this was a 
plain declaration, their minds were higher, carried to some- 
what in an higher region. They declare plainly, they are 
seeking a country. And what country is that? Why, a 
better and an heavenly country. And therefore God is 
not ashamed to be called their God. Heb. xi. 16. It was 
the hope of those hi^h and great things above, that drew - 
up their hearts, and tlierefore this world could not entangle 
them. — Their way was above, (as the way of the wise is,) to 
escape from hell and death beneath. But it was hope that 
carried them up into those higher regions, so far out of the 
reach of deadly snares ; the snares of death, as the wise 
man calls them. And again, 

(6.) As contentment is a great preservative from the dan- 
ger of apostacy_, or a great requisite to perseverance; so is 
the desire of the better things of the better world, that bet- 
ter country, a very good preservative too. We must know 
that the spirit of man must of course, when it is drawn off 
froin one sort of objects, apply, and turn itself to another 
sort. It hath not its good within itself, it cannot be a 
deity, a god to itself; it must have a good to satisfy itself, 
alivnde out of itself, li" it he not from this world that it 
looks for this good, it must find elsewhere, that which may 
be more suitable, and more grateful to it. Its desires, when 
they are confined, limited, and moderated by contentment, 
in reference to this world, are then removed and transferred 
to the things of the other world ; and so it is kept in a 
steady, composed state. When it sees that the things of 
this world are not suitable, will not satisfy, it is not at a loss 
what it shall do next. A superior good presents and offers 
itself, and the new nature in it, doth attemper and suit its 


desires to that. And if it do desire things of that higher 
and upper region, it is in no danger of being drawn off 
from God, while that desire remains, lives, and fiourisheth, 
and is in any power with it. 

But now it so much the more desires, by how much the 
more it hopes ; desire languisheth, if hope fails, as it is in 
reference to any thing else, whereby as to the first appear- 
ance of good, it comes to its object. Is there any drawing 
forth of desire towards it, and we come to consider, and 
contemplate the matter, and we find it to be an unattaina- 
ble thing, a thing to be despaired of, then we desert, desire 
fails, and grows flat of course. It is a thing rarely to be 
found, that desire remains in any vigour, to any object, in 
reference w hereunto there is no hope, or in reference where- 
unto there is nothing but simple despair. Indeed, the first 
appearance, or view of goodness, or amiableness, in the 
object, may draw forth that which we call simple desire, so 
far as to put us upon the inquiry, is such a thing to be 
gained, yea or nay ? And if we find it is not, desire fails, 
the hopelessness of the thing makes us lay aside the 
thoughts of it, and accordingly there is no more desire. If 
the desires of heavenly felicity live in our souls, this 
earth will never pluck us off from God ; but that desire 
will last no longer than hope lasts, that such a state is not 
unattainable. We shall, by the grace of God, be enabled 
to reach the felicity of that state, we shall not be frustrated, 
or disappointed at length :— then saith the soul, I will hold 
on my course. And then again, 

(7.) Watchfulness is requisite to a Christian's continued 
progress in his course to final salvation. But there can be 
no such thing as watchfulness without hope. Watching 
imports a continual design, and of self-preservation : but 
when the hope of that fails, then all subordinate and sub- 
servient means are laid aside. But this is a thino; enjoined 
us, in order to preservation, to watch, always. And to this 
I might add, 

(8.) Pray always too. Tliis is requisite, as most conjunct 
with the other. And sure we are, as there can be no watch- 
ing, so there can be no praying without hope; this is most 
evident. And, 

(9) A complacential doing of good, or a disposition of 
doing good with complacency. This makes the ways of 
God pleasant to men, so as they will never leave them, nor 
turn aside from them : but it is hope that induceth them 
hereunto. It is a sowing to the Spirit, when we are doing 

5ER. xvni.) Fervency of D lit 1/ recommended. 261 

good. The Apostle calls it so. " They that sow to the 
Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Gal. vi. 8. 
Tlien immediately follows, " As ye have opportunity, do 
good unto all, espeeially to them that are of the household 
of faith." This is sowing to the Spirit suitably, or subser- 
viently to the kindness, and goodness, and benignity of the 
Divine Spirit. But whosoever sows, soweth in hope, that 
he may be partaker of his hope. That course of well-doing 
is continued, and the soul is held on in it, by the power and 
influence of a continued hope. *Mt is by patient continu- 
ance in well-doing, that we are to seek for glory, and 
honour, and immortality, unto eternal life." Rom. ii. 7. 
1 add again, 

(10.) Fervency in a course of duty is a very great requisite 
to continuance in it. We shall soon grow weary of that 
course of duty, wherein we have no fervour in our own 
spirits. It is a wearisome thing to pray continually, with- 
out any fervour; and for such work as this we are now 
engaged in, to preach or hear, if there be nothing of fervour 
in us in these exercises, it is very dull work, and such as we 
shall not be well pleased to hold on long in ; now it is plain, 
that hope maintains the fervour of the spirit in duty. *' Be 
fervent in spirit, serving the Lord," Rom. xii. 11, 12. and 
** rejoicing in hope," are words immediately connected. 

(11.) Christian temperance is a great thing to preserve us 
from apostacy. There is nothing that dotli more effect- 
ually betray a soul into, and ingulf it in final ruin, than the 
letting loose sensual inclinations. And you find it is the 
great design of the gospel under which we live, and of the 
grace that appeareth in it, bringing salvation, " To teach 
us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust, and to live soberly, 
righteously, and godly, in this present world." Titus ii. 11, 
12, 13. And how are we induced hereunto? ''Looking 
for the blessed hope_, and the glorious appearing of the 
great God, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ." There is no- 
thing that in common experience proves so fatal to many, 
that had begun well in a course of religion. Some hopeful 
young ones, that have been struck with convictions, God 
hath begun to awaken them, to take hold of their spirits ; 
and they have had some tastes and relishes of the word of 
God, and of divine and heavenly things : but we have 
found them recede, and go off again. And how came it 
to pass? Why, they lost all in a debauch, that extin- 
guished the convictions of conscience, and the desires of 

s 3 


heart, that began to be stirred in them god-ward, and hea- 

Now it is the hope of a soul, which is its safety in this 
cage. What ! Shall I lose so great an hope, for the plea- 
sure of an hour, or a moment? It is because that 1 have 
great hope concerning this soul of mine, and concerning 
that vast, immense eternity, that is in view before me, 
and whereof I have the prospect that I will not do so; I 
am born to great hopes, and therefore I will not destroy 
them by so mad a folly as this, to throw away a soul, and 
to throw away so great hopes, to please two or three fools, 
that would only have me go to hell in company with them, 
or to keep them company there. No, if persons have any 
apprehension, that God hath been at work with them, about 
the affairs of their souls, in reference to eternity, this may 
be the beginning of a new birth, of a divine birth; and if 
so, whatsoever parentage one is born of, his hopes are suit- 
able to his parentage. If I am under the regenerating, 
divine influence, born, or shall be born, (if things come to 
a good issue,) a son of the greatest of fathers, a child of 
God : then if a child, an heir, an heir of God, and joint 
heir of Christ. Then how high and great are my hopes? 
How glorious expectancies are those that I have in pros- 
pect before me ?. And what ? To lose all this for the plea- 
sure of a debauch ? It is hope that makes the mind sober, 
(as was before hinted,) " Gird up the loins of your minds, 
be sober, and hope to the end." That you may be sober, 
that you may have sobriety of mind, of thinking, and of 
judging reasonably of things, keep hope in exercise; do 
but consider what you hope for, and you will be safe. 
And lastly, 

(12.) Joy is a great requisite to perseverance, and will be 
of great use to us, in order thereunto. " The joy of the 
Lord is his people's strength," Neh. viii. 10. to carry them 
through the duties and difficulties of the Christian state. 
And how is that joy to be maintained ? " We rejoice in 
hope of the glory of God ;" Rom. v. 2. and our rejoicing 
is to be in hope. Rom. xii. 12. It is hope that feeds joy 
m reference to things, while we are in this present state, 
which doth not afford much of immediate enjoyment, 
otherwise than that we have by anticipation. It is hope 
that directs to that which is within the vail; Heb. vi. 19. 
takes hold of invisible things, and so is as " an anchor to 
the soul, both sure and steadfast." The soul rcjoiceth to 
find itself upon sure terms, rcjoiceth in hope, in the strength 

SER. XIX.) Grounds to Hope for Perseverance. 263 

and power of that hope, which, as its anchor, is tlirown 
within the vail, and takes liold of the unseen things there. 
" The God of peace fill you with all joy and peace in be- 
lieving," Rom. XV. 13. as the Apostle prays for the Chris- 
tian Romans. The more joy, the more vigour in your 
course: the joy of the Lord will be your strength, and the 
more hope, the more joy. 

You see these many ways, hope cannot but have an 
influence unto Christians' perseverance in the way and 
course, into which regeneration and converting grace hath 
brought them. 

The next thing will be to shew you, what encourage- 
ments a Christian hath thus to hope for, while his hope is 
to be sutficient for him all along in his course, something 
or other must be sufficient unto it, something or other 
must sustain it, that doth sustain him. 



We are saved by hope. 

Having shewn what advantages hope gives a Christian's 
progress in his way, we now come to let you see, what 
ground a Christian hath for such an hope, to wit, that by the 
grace of God, and the assistances to be given continually 
from him, he shall be kept and preserved from the great 
danger of fatal, destructive backsliding and apostacy from 
God, and a departure from his ways ; from turning aside into 
crooked paths, with the workers of iniquity; Psalm cxxv. 
5. and from returning into those ways at length, " which 
take hold of hell, and lead down to the chambers of death.'* 
Prov. v. 5. But before I come to shew you what ground a 
serious Christian hath for such an hope, something I must 
premise unto you. As, 

1. That the grounds which he had for his former hope 
before his conversion, and which had influence thereupon, 
do still remain, and are equally grounds to him of this con- 

* Preached Juno 28, 1691. 

s 4 


tinuing hope that is to influence his whole aftef coaise'j 
and with much more advantage. We are not to suppose 
that the grounds of the hope that I am now speaking of, 
do make the former grounds cease. The grounds of the 
former hope, that which I told you might be only, (and 
indeed must be before conversion,) no more than a rational 
human hope, assisted l)y common grace ; what ground 
there was for that hope, doth still remain, and is still im- 

f)roveable to more advantage : and the grounds of this fol- 
owing hope are not in reference to those grounds privative, 
but cumulative, (as is wont to be said in such cases,) that 
is, they do not lake away the former, but add thereunto. 
Whatsoever ground of hope there was before, for a poor 
wandering sinner to return, and come back to God, and 
seek reconciliation and peace with him, to wit, from the 
gracious nature of God, from the rich fulness of Christ's 
sacrifice, from the freeness of the gospel tender, and invi- 
tation, and from the power, and grace, and office of the 
Holy Ghost: these grounds do still remain, in reference to 
the present case, and are improvable, even with more ad- 
vantage, as you will see in reference thereunto. And again, 
2. Tliis is to be noted by way of premise. That the hope 
which they are to take encouragement for, is not to be a 
rash, fearless hope. It is not to be an hope without fear, 
pray do not mistake the matter as to this, we are not to 
aim at any such hope as shall be exclusive of fear, or that 
shall make that an useless thing, an useless principle, an 
useless grace in the soul. We are told, " They are blessed 
that fear always; (Prov. xxviii. 14.) but be that hardens 
his heart, (that is in opposition to such a fear,) shall fall 
into mischief." And elsewhere we find such oppositions of 
fear to hardness of heart, made to one another. " Why 
hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our 
hearts from thy fear?" Isa. Ixiii. 17. and we are directed 
to " perfect holiness in the fear of God," ^ Cor. vii. 3. 
and warned " not to be high-minded, but fear," Rom. xi. 
20. and charged " to work out our salvation, with fear and 
trembling." Phil. ii. 12. Even they are so charged, whom 
the Apostle had a little before expressed his confidence 
concerning them, that *' God that had begun a good 
work in them, would perfect it unto the day of Christ." 
Phil. i. 6. And yet he requires and charges them in his 
name, and by his authority, whom God had exalted to so 
high a pitch, as to give him a name above every name> 
wherefore, (saith he hereupon,) this charge I solemnly give 

siiR. XIX.) Feiw, not a useless Thing. 265 

you, that his name and authority may be owned, not only 
in '* my presence, but much more, being absent, you work 
out your salvation, with fear and trembhng." 

There is no such stale of a Christian attainable in this 
life, that ought to make fear an useless thing, and to super- 
sede it. 1 say there is no such state as this ; no, nor un- 
doubtedly in heaven itself, where reverence of God is 
higher than now we are capable of, infinitely, unspeakably, 
exceedingly higher. It will be part of that homage, that 
we shall be eternally paying to his throne, and part of our 
felicity too, because of the pleasantness of that temper, the 
suitableness and congruity of it to a right mind, apprehen- 
sive of what is due to the Eternal Being; and besides, we 
are told this is the very means of our preservation. He 
that hath promised to keep his, hath promised to keep 
them thus, " 1 will put my fear into their hearts, and they 
shall not depart from me," I mean to make use of that as 
the great preservative principle in them. Jer. xxxii. 40. 
Ezek. xxxvi. 27. 

Indeed the understanding of all this, doth but depend 
upon one plain thing, that it is fit and needful that every 
one should have a distinct notion of in his own mind, to 
wit, how vast the difference is between fear and fear; — the 
fear of reverence, and the fear of horror, (as I may fitly 
enough distinguish it,) — the fear of a saint, and the fear of 
a devil; — the fear of heaven, and the fear of bell; — so 
vastly different they are. The one fear doth involve hatred 
in it essentially, odiumus quern mehamus, we hate him whom 
we so fear, we cannot but do so ; but the other doth essen- 
tially carry love in it. The fear of reverence carries a com- 
placency in the dignity, honour, and exaltation of him, 
towards whom we exercise this affection : and yet it hath 
a collateral and secondary respect to our own interest too, 
and so ought to have, and must have ; as the love we bear 
to God, and our true love to ourselves; the love by which 
we design glory to him, and the love by which we design 
blessedness in him, are the same love. That therefore is a 
further thing, that thereupon we are to consider. Again, 

3. We must hereupon note this too, That the hope unto 
which we are to be encouraged of being kept from apos- 
tacy, and enabled to persevere, and hold on in the ways of 
God to the end, it must consequently be such as shall ad- 
mit of, as shall not exclude, but infer all the subsequent 
cares and endeavours, that are most agreeable and corres- 


pondent to such a fear, as hath been before expressed, to 
wit, our continual watchfulness over ourselves, our abstain- 
ing from known gross evils, our endeavour to repress the 
beginnings, tlie first motions and stirrings of sin, our giving 
ourselves to prayer, our meditating upon the things of 
God, our attending duty, and waiting on God in his ordi- 
nances, our avoiding temptations, and shunning the society 
of them that walk in pernicious and destructive ways. Our 
hope of being kept, it must not exclude, but infer, all this 
care and endeavour of our own, in order to our being so 
kept. As a man's hope of having his natural life, and 
health, and strength, and soundness preserved, ought to be 
with a conjunct care of himself all along. It were a mad 
hope, if a man should then hope that his life, strength, and 
soundness, should be preserved, if he starve himself, or stab 
himself, or poison himself, or run into houses infected with 
the plague, or associate himself with persons that have 
pestilential diseases upon them, and the like : this were a 
mad hope, that I should be kept well at this rate. And 
it is easily apprehensible how this is to be applied to our 
present case : we are to hope we shall be kept, but we are 
not to hope we shall be kept in a continual neglect of 
ourselves ; if we will famish and starve our souls, if we will 
stab them in a liberty of known acts of sin, if we will infect 
them by running into contagious company, if we will asso- 
ciate with such, and familiarly converse with them that 
have the plague upon them, if we are not afraid of drawing 
contagion from so mortal breath, our hope will a be very 
foolish hope, and not the hope 1 am now to encourage. 

4. We must note further, that, supposing that many, or 
any be in doubt whether they have yet an holy, good prin- 
ciple in them ; whether they are yet come into the regene- 
rate state, have that already inlaid in them, which the 
scripture calls the seed of God, and a divine nature; if (I 
say) any be in doubt about it, it is not needful that they 
should stay for a resolution, in order to the receiving any 
encouragement from what I am further to say : though 
they cannot so certainly say that the things that are after 
to be said do concern them as regenerate persons, as those 
that are already in a state of grace ; yet they will find that 
there may be encouragement taken from thence, though 
not so directly in order to the bringing of them into it ; 
and so none should think that what is said doth no way 

sEK. XIX.) Ilojje grounded on the Covenant. 267 

concern them, because they are not yet certain that they 
are regenerate. 

AVhatsoever is received, is received according to the dis- 
position of the recipient. If there be a regenerate princi- 
ple, that will so much the more readily entertain and close 
with what is spoken for its own strengthening, and further 
invigorating, and for its nutriment. But if there be not, 
yet if there be a tendency that way, any seriousness of spi- 
rit about any such thing, and with reference thereunto, we 
must know that it is a true maxim in spirituals, as well as in 
naturals, Eisdem nutrimiw exqnihus constanmr ; we are nou- 
rished, and do consist of the same thing, the very same 
thing. And that which is suitable to the maintaining, en- 
livening, improving, and growth of a principle of divine 
life in the soul, is suitable, in some measure, to the beget- 
ting of it too. Even the same word, in the sum and sub- 
stance of it, by which we are to grow, and which we are to 
receive as '' sincere milk," for that design, that we may 
grow, and may be strengthened by it ; by the same word, 
also, are we '' begotten again by the word of truth." 
James, i. 17. And by the " incorruptible seed," the ^* word 
of God." 1 Pet. i. £0. " Sanctify them by thy truth ; thy 
word is truth." John, xvii. 17. 

Now these things being thus forelaid, all that I shall say 
for the encouragement of such an hope as I am now speak- 
ing of, will be reduced, and is fitly enough reducible one 
way or other to this one ground, the gospel of the covenant 
of God in Christ. That lays before you the firm and sure 
foundation of such an hope ; and it will indeed somewhat 
diversely give encouragement according to the different 
states of men, (though principally I intend now the rege- 
nerate state,) if 3^ou do but accordingl}' consider the dif- 
ferent notions under which we may look upon this cove- 
nant ; in short, we may look upon it either as proposed, 
or as actually entered. As proposed, so it gives a ground 
of hope to enter it ; and thereupon gives a ground for all 
the consequent hope whereof I am speaking. 

But if it be actually entered, and that can be distinctly, 
and with clearness reflected upon, then you have the 
nearer, the more immediate, the firmer, and surer ground, 
for such an hope, as I am now to speak of. And your hope 
ought to arise to proportionable degrees of life, strength, 
and vigour in you. But the great foundation of this hope 
lies here in the gospel covenant, whoever of you have any 
concern for your souls; whoever of you are bethinking 



yourselves how not to perish, how at length to be saved ; 
Jo, here you lay your hope upon the gospel covenant, the 
covenant of God in "Christ. 

For do but consider, that the apostle, speaking of the 
case of the infidel Pagan world, and of the case of the 
Ephesians, when they were such, he saith, " Ye were aliens 
from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the 
covenant of promise ; and without Christ, and without hope, 
and without God in the world." Ephes. ii. 12. All the 
\vhile that you were aliens from the commonwealth of 
Israel, and from the covenant of promise; all the while 
that you were as a people of another country, (as tlie ex- 
pression signifies,) in being " strangers to the covenant of 
promise^, and without Christ;" you were without hope too, 
and f< without God in the world ;" atheists in the world. 

The ground of the Christian's hope, as to perseverance, 
is the gospel covenant, Christ being the great agent that 
was to bring about a relation; and in order thereunto to 
bring you into covenant with God through himself. If 
3'ou know nothing of the covenant of promise, you are 
without hope. This is the sum of all ; here must your hope 
be laid upon this great foundation. 

And this is not a new thing, but as old as faith hath been 
in the world, and as holiness hath been, or any thing hath 
been of the divine life. This covenant of God in Christ, 
It IS said even to be but confirmed when the law was given 
by Moses on Mount Sinai ; the covenant that was con- 
firmed of God in Christ to Abraham. It was even con- 
firmed before to Abraham ; it received a new confirmation 
there; it was not made with Abraham then. Gal. ii. 16". 
It was then but confirmed to Abraham. This covenant of 
God in Christ being of a much more ancient date. David, 
when he lay a dying, here was the ground of his hope; 

Thou hast made with me an everlasting covenant, or- 
dered in all things, and sure; and this is all my salvation, 
and all my desire, although thou make it not to grow ;" 
2 Sam. xxiii. 5. to wit, his house, spoken of before, " al- 
though my house be not so with God." God had said 
many things to him about his house and family heretofore, 
a great deal more distinctly and expressly than he doth 
usually to men about their houses and families, when they 
are to be extinct and gone. But David's mind was upon 
something else, — something greater and more considerable 
than all this ; " Although my house be not so with God, 
(come of my liouse and external concernments what will,) 

SER. XIX.) The Author of the Covenant. 269 

here is " all my salvation, and all my desire/' that tliou 
hast " made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in 
all things and sure ;" which had an aspect upon higher and 
greater things than that of a temporal kingdom in this 
world, how big so ever that may look in many an eye. 

And, concerning David's understanding and knowledge 
in the mystery of Christ, (as 1 may use those words well 
enough in reference to him,) when we hear him speak so 
often of his hoping in the word of God, this must be the 
word which he is to be understood principally to mean, the 
word of this everlasting covenant; " 1 had fainted for thy 
salvation, but I hoped in thy word." Psalm cxix. 49. In- 
tent he was upon salvation ; and sometimes being ready to 
faint about it, his hope in God's word kept him from faint- 
ing ; " Thou art my hiding-place and my shield." Psalm 
cxix. 114. I do hope in thy word. You have that which 
is agreeable, in another place, where he again professeth 
his hope in God's word, and invites all Israel to join with 
him in waiting for the Lord, (Psalm cxxx. 6, 7.) from day 
to day, more than they that wait for the morning ; '' Let 
Israel wait on the Lord, for with him is mercy and plen- 
teous redemption, and he will redeem Israel from all his 
iniquities." This is the summary thing, the gospel of the 
covenant of God in Christ, which is the great ground and 
foundation of tiiis hope. 

But to speak more particularly and distinctly to it, you 
will have several grounds of hope some way or other redu- 
cible hither, if you will but consider sundry things that 
we have to reflect upon relating and belonging to this co- 
venant. As, 

1. The Author of this covenant is to be considered. It 
is God's own covenant ; he is not only a covenanting party, 
but he hath formed the covenant, and is the first in the 
covenant. It is he that hath ordained and contrived the 
model of it; and doth propose it to us, and enjoin it upon 
us, as to what is our part in this covenant of God in Christ. 
And concerning him, though I might insist upon many 
things, I shall only mention these two, to shew how firm a 
ground of hope you have from the Author of this covenant,- 
to wit, his all-sufficiency, and his faithfulness. 

(1.) His all-sufficiency. When he was drawing Abraham 
into the covenant, or designing to confirm him in a cove- 
nant state, so he mentions himself, I am God all-sufficient; 
that was enough for his part. " Walk before me, and be 
thou perfect," Gen. xvii. 1. that would be also enough 


for Abraham oh his part: as you know, if you have occa- 
sion to transact affairs with a man, to contract a covenant 
with him about matters of importance to you, the great 
thing you will have your eye upon is. Is the person 1 deal 
with sufficient? If you are sure that he is, you traffic with 
much more security, he being a man of known sufficiency. 
Saith God, I am an all-sufficient God; come, who hath a 
mind to deal witlr me? to transact with me, and traffic with 
me ? who will come into my covenant ? And, 

(2.) His faithfulness is a most firm foundation of hope : 
such faithfulness as wherewith consists, no possibility of 
being false; " In hope of eternal life, which God that can- 
not lie hath promised," Titus i. 2. " And by two immu- 
table things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, the 
heirs of promise might have strong consolation, who have 
fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before them." Heb. 
vi. 17, 18. You say, you shall one day sink, you shall fail, 
you shall perish, you shall be lost after so many stops in 
the ways of God. Think who hath promised you. The 
God, all-sufficient : and that he is faithful that hath pro- 

And consider these things in reference to one another, 
his faithfulness to his all-sufficiency : he is therefore faithful 
because it is all-sufficient. It is a great matter, rightly to 
understand this. It is impossible to the perfection of the 
Divine Nature to lie, because he is God all-sufficient. 
Honesty, veracity, and truth, are not things of so ill repute 
among men, but that men would preserve their credit in 
the world, if they were not put to shifts, if they were not 
reduced to straits. They are commonly false, because they 
know not how to compass their ends; either they have not 
wisdom enough, or they have not power enough ; but he 
that is all-sufficient, hath nothing to tempt him to falsehood. 
His perfect nature abhors it ; — his all-sufficiency speaks 
his universal perfection, as you have formerly, at another 
season, been told. The matter is obvious, if we do but 
allow ourselves to argue upon it, (though indeed the thing 
little needs it,) even upon grounds that will be clear to every 

There is no intelligent agent that doth any thing without 
design. As an intelligent agent, every human action is 
done for an end, for a proposed end. He that is the most 
perfectly intelligent Being, can do nothing but for some 
end. Now what end can he propose to himself to deceive 
a creature that he made out of nothing, but the other day. 

SER. XIX.) The Mediator of the Covenant. 271 

and can throw into nothing, the next moment if he pleas- 
eth ? What end can he propose to himself, in deceiving a 
creature that he hath absohitel}? in his own power ? Those 
words of our Saviour, how much of spirit and life do they 
carry in them ? " Let not your hearts be troubled ; ye be- 
lieve in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are 
many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you." 
You may trust me; do you think I intended to make fools 
of you, when I persuaded you to be christians ? Have I 
made you leave all this world, and made you give up your- 
selves to me, and put yourselves under my conduct, in 
expectation of great and glorious things hereafter, in an- 
other state? 1 tell you it is as I have said, " In my Fa- 
ther's house there are many mansions, and if it were not so, 
do you think 1 wovild not have told you ?" would not I 
have been honest to you ? would I have cheated you into 
a vain and false hope ? so much reason you have to believe 
me from my word, that you may even believe from my si- 
lence ; " If it had not been so, I would have told you ;" I 
never yet said to you, shift for yourselves, I have never 
an heaven for you, I have never a ground of eternal hope 
for you; all that is vanished and gone. ISo, *' if it were 
not so," as I say, " I would have told you." The divine 
all-sufficiency, and his fidelity, taken together in the consi- 
deration we have of him, as the great Author of his cove- 
nant, upon which you must depend for eternity, how firm a 
foundation of hope is this ? and whatever of encourage- 
ment it gives to them who have entered this covenant, and 
can say, this God is now in covenant with me, and I in 
covenant with him. They have proportionable encourage- 
ment wdio are invited to enter it, for if I close with this 
offer, this is my case presently, and I have the same interest 
that any other hath had before me, who hath entered into 
it before. But again, 

2. Consider the Mediator of this covenant. It is a cove- 
nant established in the hands of a Mediator, contracted by 
a Mediator, on purpose that it might be sure and firm ; that 
it might have more stability, and might better hold than 
that covenant made with God immediately, or without a 
Mediator coming between God and man. And we are to 
consider Christ the Mediator of this covenant, as giving 
stability to it, and giving us ground of firm hope from it, 
under a three-fold notion, to wit. As dying for us ; Ab 
living in us ; And as gone into heaven before us. 

1. Consider him as dying for us. And if his death be 


considered in respect to this covenant, so it may be looked 
upon two ways, as principium essendi, and as prinoipiinn cos;- 
noscendi, it may be looked upon as a ground of the being 
of this covenant; and it may be looked upon as a ground 
of the knowledge of it, that knowledge which we may have 
concerning it, both which are necessary to be the founda- 
tion of our hope. 

(1.) Asa ground of the being of this covenant. If it had 
not been for the death and sacrifice of the Son of God, there 
could not have been such a covenant. Psalm 1. It is a 
covenant by sacrifice. As covenants have their ratifica- 
tions, even among men by sacrifice, and the Jews have a 
notion de sanguine saiicisa sunt non ubroganda, those argu- 
ments that are ratified by blood, become most sacred and 
inviolable, never to be abrogated. The blood of Christ is 
called the blood of the covenant again and again; " And 
"have counted the blood of the covenant an unclean thing." 
Heb. X. 29. " Our Lord Jesus Christ who offered himself 
to God, by the blood of the everlasting covenant, make 
you perfect." Heb. xiii. 20, 21. And when he instituted 
his own supper, he calls it the cup of the New Testament 
in his blood. The word testament is the same used for 
covenant. How firm a covenant is that, that hath its foun- 
dation in the blood of the Son of God ! His blood, who is 
the great Emmanuel, " the brightness of his Father's glory, 
and the express image of his person," who came down on 
purpose into this world, and united himself with the nature 
of man, purposely that he might have somewhat mortal 
about him, somewhat that could die, and that by that death 
of his, he might ruin the designs of him that had the power 
of -death; and might procure that stability should be given 
to the covenant of life and peace, even this covenant. 
And then, 

2. The death of Christ is not only a principle, or ground 
of the being of this covenant, but of our knowledge of it 
too ; upon which also depends our hope therein, that is, we 
know, being informed concerning the death of Christ, how 
it comes to pass that there can be such a contract and 
agreement between an offended God, and offending crea- 
tures, how comes it to pass.'' how was it brought about? 
Why, God hath set him forth " to be a propitiation, 
through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness; (to 
testify to all the world his righteousness ;) that he may be 
just, and the justifier of them that believe in Jesus." Rom,, 
iii. 25. This powerful!}' controuls the objection of any 

SER. XIX.) Christ in us, and for ns. 273 

unbelieving heart. How can it be, that the just and holy 
God, the glorious Majesty of Heaven should be offended by 
an impotent worm, and should threaten death for the of- 
fence, and yet forgive it? How can it be? Why, God 
hath set forth his Son, to be a propitiation, to declare his 
righteousness, to let all the world know, that now he can 
righteously pardon sin, and be reconciled to sinners, and 
take them into favour. What an encouragement is this to 
a returning soul, a returned soul, a soul that hath returned, 
or that hatha disposition, or mind to return! God hath 
set forth Christ to be a propitiation, he lifted him up upon 
the cross, and he is lifted up in the gospel dispensation, to 
tell the world. Now, sinner, the matter shall not lie on me, 
or on mj' part; if there be still a breach between me and 
thee, it is not because I cannot be reconciled, but because 
thou wilt not be reconciled ; I can be reconciled, 1 have 
my satisfaction in my Son, and if there be a continuing 
breach, it is because thou refuseth, and despiseth the terms 
of peace that are offered, and doth trample upon the blood 
of the covenant, as if it were a profane thing. But to a 
serious considering soul, one that hath returned, or is upon 
his return to God in Christ, how firm a foundation of hope 
is this ! I know the justice of God, (the only thing I had to 
dread, as that could never be reconciled to me,) is satisfied 
if I return, and shall never have any quarrel with me, if I 
keep on in the prescribed way that leads to life. Saith the 
-Apostle, " Abide in him, (that is, in Christ, who is the 
great reconciling sacrifice,) that when he shall appear, you 
may have confidence, and not be ashamed at his coming. 
1 John ii. 20. But then, 

2. Consider Christ the Mediator of this covenant, as 
living in us, as well as dying for us. He gives stability to 
this covenant, and so is the ground-work of our hope, as he 
hath been pleased to unite himself with our souls, and take 
up an indwelling and abode there. " That Christ may 
dvv'ell in }our hearts by faith, that you, being rooted, and 
grounded in love, may comprehend with all saints the 
height, and breadth, and depth, and length ; and may know 
the love of Christ, that passeth knowledge." Eph. i. 3, 17, 
18, 19- He testifies his own love by his indwelling pre- 
sence, and that way he secures you, that the covenant re- 
mains stable and firm between God and you. 1 dwell in 
you, to keep this always a clear and indubitable thing with 
you, that God is your's, and you are his, by the tenor oi' 



his own covenant. And again, you are to look npon 
Christ in reference to this covenant, 

3. As ascended, and having entered the heavens on our 
behalf, upon our account, together with all that is connected 
therewith, and consequent thereupon. '' Who shall lay 
any thing to the charge of God's elect ? It is God that jus- 
tifies.- Who is he that conderaneth r It is Christ that died; 
yea, rather, that is risen again, and is at the right hand of 
God; who also maketh intercession for us." Rom. viii. 33, 
34. " If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, 
Jesus Christ the righteous." I John ii. 1. So he is said 
to mediate for us, not after the law of a carnal command- 
ment, but after the power of an endless life. Heb. vii. 18. 
And it is said, " He is able to save to the uttermost all 
them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to 
make intercession for them." Being seated and enthroned in 
glory, with that very design, that though there may be many 
offences on our part against the tenor of our covenant, yet 
they shall not make a final breach ; but that still the return- 
ing soul shall find mercy, and that still that mercy shall be 
free. ^' Return, ye backsliding children, for I am married to 
you, I will heal your backslidings, and receive you gra- 
ciously, and love you freely." Jer. iii. 12, 14, 22. I might 

4. The immediate Agent for bringing of souls into this 
covenant state, and continuing them there. And how 
great a ground have you of hope from thence ; that is, that 
the Holy Spirit is appointed purposely by office, to trans- 
act this affair with souls; at first to bring them into cove- 
nant with God in Christ, and then, from time to time, to 
confirm their standing, and preserve them in the covenant 
state. This is that to which he is appointed, to which his 
very office leads to ; that which we find him concerned to 
do, not occasionally, not on the by, but ex officio. A 
greater ground of hope cannot be conceived than this. 
How intent is God upon it, that his covenant with souls 
shall be a firm, stable, continual thing ! 

-SEK. XX.) Refhction on the. operation of our own minds. 275 


ROMANS, vni. 24. 
JVe are saved by Hope. 

It remains now to shew you, that the influence which 
hope hath to this purpose, it is not merely necessary to a 
Christian's better progress in his way and course, but to 
his progress at -all, to any progress which he could make i 
in such a course; to wit, it is not only requisite to the bet- \ 
lex being, but to the being itself of continued Christianity, ; 
so that without liope, there would certainl}' be a failure; 
and God, who hath absolutely determined this end, (that 
his elect shall hold out through the whole of their course,) 
hath also determined this means, viz. that he will preserve 
and maintain that hope in them throughout, by which they 
shall be enabled to hold out to the end : and therefore the 
certainty of the necessity of the influence of hope to that 
purpose, is what we have noiv to make to you. And in 
order thereunto, we need but to consider in general, 1st. 
The course of our own operations, such as are internal, and 
wherein our spirits withm us do exert their power and vi- 
gour day by day. And then, 2ndly. To consider the spe- 
cial and most natural and proper work of hope. If we do 
but consider our own nature, and most con-natural opera- 
tions ; and if we do but consider the nature of hope, and 
what its special and con-natural work is, it will l>e plain, 
that such a continued course could not be held, but by the 
influence of hope. 

1. Let us reflect upon the proper con-natural operations 
of our own spirits. This will be of real use to us, not only 
as it serves the present purpose, but as it may give us a 
clearer and more distinct notion of ourselves, which we do 
need to have our minds furnished with. There are many 
that do use this body, (for a whole life time that they live 
in it,) and the several parts and members that belong to it, 
they do their proper ofliices with them day by day, and yet 
seldom, or ever, allow themselves to make a reflection, what 
a sort of creature is this body of mine? and how, and by 

* Preached, July 12, 1691. 
T 2 


what means do the several parts of it serve for those several 
purposes for which I use them daily ? Among all those 
that do use the body, and the several organs and instru^ 
ments of action that do belong to it, how seldom do the 
most that do so, ever take notice what a sort of structure 
this is, and how it comes to be framed for such uses as the 
several parts of it serve for ! That argues a great deal of 
stupidity among us, that we should move our hands and 
feet, and eyes, as we do from day to day, and never consi- 
der with ourselves how these come to be moving things, or 
which way, or by what means they are moved ; as to think 
of the many instruments of this body that serve the purposes 
of motion, with what curiosity all those muscles are con- 
trived and framed, without which there could be no motion, 
and which if there were not such variety of them, there 
would not be that variety of motion that we find, so many 
several muscles, no less than six belonging to each eye, 
that it may be capable of moving this way, and that way, 
upward, downward, obliquely, and transversely. There 
could be no motion, if there were not such instruments 
lodged and placed on purpose to subserve this end. 

And as little do the most consider the movements of their 
own spirits, of their inward man; what kind of induce- 
ments they are that the mind of man is carried by, this way 
and tliat; how it is enabled to form designs and to contrive 
methods for the accomplishment of them, and to take such 
and such courses to bring them about. We use these no- 
ble powers and faculties every day, which we never con- 
sider, never contemplate. If we did allow ourselves to 
reflect and look a little inward upon ourselves, especially 
upon the powers of our own minds and spirits, and consider 
how they come to be engaged in action, this way and that, 
it were impossible but that such contemplation as that 
would carry up our souls to adore their own Father, the 
Father of spirits, and the Father of lights ; He that had 
the fashioning of the spirit of man within him, and who 
doth order the course and current of all its motions, to- 
gether with the inducements by which it should be made 
capable of moving this way and that, with so singular and 
profound wisdom, as that, if we did but more in this respect 
consider ourselves, we could not but more admire him. 

But this is plain and evident, that whether you look upon 
the spirit of man as rational, or as regenerate and holy, it 
cannot but move towards an end. There is nothing that a 
man doth as a man, no human action (as such) but is done 

SER. XX.) Hope attended with difficulties. 13IT7 

for an end. And there is no end that any can propose to 
himself, but under the notion of attainable; and there is 
nothing that a man can design or project as attainable, but 
it must be also in as much as it is attainable and hopeful ; 
hopeful, inasmuch as hope hath reference to that which is 
good, and that which is future; inasmuch as that which 
one proposeth to himself, under the notion of an end, must 
be a good. That which is apprehended as an evil, we avert, 
we shun, we fly from naturally, by the natural constitution 
of our own souls: and that which we apprehend as good, 
we pursue and press towards it. Hope having for its object 
only that which is good, and that which is future^ a distant 
good that I am not possessed of yet. It is impossible I 
can propose any thing to myself as my end, but at the same 
time, when I make it my end, I make it the object of my 
hope; and while I am pursuing it, all the series and course 
of the actions which 1 do in the pursuit and prosecution of 
it, 1 do continually, as having my mind all along influenced 
and animated by the hope of attaining it; for if I did not 
hope, I would give it over, never make one step more to- 
wards it. That whereof I simply despair, 1 must by the 
necessity that my own reason lays upon me, (as I am a 
reasonable creature,) give it over, and do no more towards 

This is the state of things with man as he is a reasonable 
creature. Look upon his soul as it is rational; thus it is 
with him: and look upon it as regenerate and holy, that 
spoils nobody's intellectuals. A man is not less rational 
for being regenerate, but the more; it mends his intellect- 
uals. Them that were before foolish, and deceived, and 
disobedient, and serving divers lusts and pleasures, when 
by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the 
Holy Ghost, they are (as it were) new made ; now they 
recover their understanding, and a rectitude of mind to that 
degree, that they now act more like men than ever they did 
before. And therefore, whether you look upon the soul of 
man as rational, or as regenerate, the influence of hope is 
of most absolute necessity to his pursuing any end or de- 
sign whatsoever. But then, 

2. If you do also consider the nature of hope, and its 
most proper and con-natural work, to wit, to bear up the 
soul in a continual conflict with the difficulties it meets 
with, or is liable to meet with, in the way to its end. 
Therefore (as I told you before) as the object of hope is 
somewhat good and future, so it is also attended with diffi- 

T 3 


culty. So moralists usually give the notion of hope, and 
add that as the proper distinction of it from mere desire ; 
for the object oi desire is also somewhat good and future, 
appearing to be good and at a distance. If it were good, 
and not future, it would be the object of delight and joy ; 
that is the exercise of the soul towards a present good, and 
wherewith it hath actual union already. But a distant 
good, both that which is apprehended to be in itself good 
and desirable, and good for me, and which is at a distance^ 
the affection that the soul exerciseth towards it, is desire^, 
unto which if you superadd that further character of the 
object, to wit, an arduousness and difficulty of attaining 
the thing I propose to myself, then it becomes the object 
of hope. ]t is the proper and con-natural work of hope to 
contend with difficulty in attaining, or in the way_ towards 
the attaining that good, which we propose to ourselves to 

Therefore now, this being the office and work of hopC;, 
its proper and specifying work, that by which it is distin- 
guished from mere desire, to cope and contend with diffi- 
culties that lie in the way of attaining my end; the many 
difficulties that do fall into the course of a Christian, do 
give him that constant exercise through the whole of his 
course, that if there be not an hope maintained in him, pro- 
portionable to those difficulties, and that may enable him 
to keep on the conflict with them, the whole design of 
Christianity must needs be laid aside, and given up. It is 
not possible, that according to the constitution of the hu- 
man nature, (and especially taking it in its regenerate state, 
which makes it so much the more reasonable and intelli- 
gent thing, than it was before,) I say, it is impossible it 
could hold on that course, were it not by the influence of 
this hope. 

And that leads me to consider, particularly, the many 
difficulties that occur in the course of a Christian, which 
are only superable by that principle of divine hope which 
God hath planted in him for this very purpose, to keep him 
in that course which he himself hath prescribed to him, 
and which leads to that glorious, blessed end, his own sal- 

I shall but mention to you, to this purpose, some of the 
greater and more observable of those difficulties which a 
Christian's hope is to contend with, and must conquer for 
him, that he may be finally saved. As, 

Difficulty 1. The invisibility of those objects, abouJ 

SER. XX.) Tht Difficulties of Hope. 279 

which he is to he principally exercised through the whole 
of his course. When this is the state of one's case, that 
the objects wherewith we must have most of all to do ; and 
wherein the sum of our felicity lies, and from whence all 
our present vigour and liveliness, and the continued 
strength of our souls for all the exercises of the Christian 
life is to be drawn forth ; when they are all things that lie 
quite out of sight with us, what should a man do in this 
case if it were not for hope? That hope which has a pre- 
apprehension of such things, and makes a representation of 
them to me, though they are unseen things. Herein lies 
the peculiarity and glory of hope, that it can do so. With 
that sort of objects doth its chief business lie. As in the 
remaining part of this verse, '' We are saved by hope ; but 
hope that is seen is not hope ; for what a man seeth, why 
doth he yet hope for?" If there were not such a principle 
and power in a Christian as hope, referring to things un- 
seen, whereas all his support, and all his vigour, and the live- 
liness of his spirit, through the whole of his course, must 
be derived and drawn from such things, what would be- 
come of him, if he had not that principle in him, by which 
he could converse with things that are out of sight ? 

You have been formerly told, that hope, in all its exer- 
cises with reference to the final felicity of a saint, it 
grounds upon faith. I first believe the divine word, and 
that word becomes tome a clear and vivid representation 
of all things whereby the soul goes forth, in all the power of 
hope, to contend forwards towards them. It reaches forth 
to them by hope, when once it hath believed the reality 
and truth of them by faith. And so you come to have 
these two twisted together. Their object is the same, and 
their exercises conjunct, though they are distinct. ''^ Faith 
is the substance (the hypostasis) of things hoped for, and 
the evidence of things not seen." Heb. xi. 1. 

To tell a Christian that hath engaged in a new and dis- 
tinct way from that which is held by the universality of 
men besides, " You are now launched out upon a pecu- 
liar bottom of your own, pray what are the things that you 
design to entertain yourself with from day to day through 
the whole of your course ? Why, they are things (saith he) 
that lie quite above this sphere, — things quite out of sight 
to you, and things that are quite out of sight to myself, as 
to any such eye as is common to me and to you. But, then, 
how will you come at these things ? — What commerce 
have you with them ? Why, I have that hope within me, 

T 4 


grounded upon a steadfast belief of the divine revelation of 
such things as I am sure cannot deceive me, by which my 
view of these is as clear as the things that are seen are clear 
to your view. And I should disdain to have my principal 
converse with them, or that they should be the chief object 
of the exercise of this soul of mine, now by divine grace 
renewed, filled with new light, and with new inclinations, 
if they were not things of that peculiar and distinct kind 
that they are of, that is, invisible. If they were things that 
could be seen ; if they were things that lay obvious to the 
notice of so mean a principle as your sense is, they would 
.be too base things for me, 1 could not tell how to warrant 
myself, to justify myself; 1 could not answer it to myself, 
much less to him that hath given me the new law that 1 am 
to be governed by, if I should longer confine myself to so 
mean things : but because they are things not to be seen, 
quite out of sight, therefore doth my soul choose that noble 
employment, to be taken up about these things peculiarly 
from day to day. If they were not so high as to be quite 
out of sight; they were too low, and too mean for me." 
So saith the renewed soul. 

liut here is a difficulty not superable by any thing but 
a divine hope ; that the best of the things which the soul is 
to be conversant about, and taken up with every day, lie 
quite out of sight; what could we do in such a case, if it 
were not for sucli an hope as can see, and discern, and anti- 
cipate, and give a preventive enjoyment of things that can- 
not be seen i And, 

Difficulty 2. The suitableness and gratefulness of things 
of sense, of sensible things, is another great difiiculty, that 
our hope is continually to conflict with, and to carry the 
Christian over. Things that are more suitable to an ani- 
mal life and the sensible nature ; they are things that lie 
under view continually ; they are present and obvious ; 
they are pleasing and entertaining to the sensitive nature 
that we carry about with us. And yet the soul must be 
under continual restraint as to whatsoever complacential 
relishes it can ever take in such things. Here lies the dif- 
ficulty; here are things suitable and pleasing to sense, to 
flesh, and blood ; and in reference to these things the soul 
can exert no desire, no delight ; can take no grateful com- 
placency in them, but is under continual restraint. The 
regenerate soul cannot wallow in sensual pleasures; it 
may not do so; it hath a law laid upon it, and u law put 
into it, by which it finds itself to be under a prohibition. 

SER. XX.) The difauhies of Hope. 281 

And therefore is this sort of men a wonder to the rest of 
the world ; they think it strange they do not nni with them 
" into the same excess of riot." 1 Pet. iv. 4. They cannot 
allow themselves to be sensual with the fleshly, worldly 
with the worldly, covetous with the covetous. If they do, 
they call their own state and standing in Christ under 
dreadful suspicions. If they can be ambitious and co- 
vetous, and voluptuous, men grossly voluptuous, they 
draw their state into question. But what is it that restrains 
them, and composes them to an holy kind of severity in 
this respect, but the pov/er of divine hope ? " Gird up the 
loins of your minds, be sober, and hope to the end." 1 Pet. i. 
13. Here appears the necessary influence of this hope to 
preserve a just restraint on the soul through the whole of 
our course, while our way lies amidst so many sensible 
things, that are so entertaining and tempting to our na- 
tures. We are to " live soberly, righteously, and godly in 
this present world, looking for the blessed hope, and the 
glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus 
Christ." Tit. ii. 11, 12. 

It must be considered, that regeneration and the parti- 
cipation of the new nature (as 1 have told you before) did 
not spoil any man's reason, nor his intellectuals ; so, nor 
doth it spoil his sensitive faculties neither. Such an one 
you must understand still to have as good senses as other 
men have, and senses as apt to entertain and please them- 
selves, on proper suitable objects, as other men. Do you 
think they cannot taste the relishes of meats and drinks, 
as well as others can, or what else may be pleasing and 
grateful to the bodily sense r But they may not, they are 
under a restraint ; they must converse shyly and cautiously, 
and with great circumspection, with all such kind of ob- 
jects. And what doth enable them to do so ? They are 
enabled to be sober, because they " hope continually," — 
hope on to the end " for the grace that is to be brought 
unto them at the revelation of Jesus Christ ;" and their 
*' looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of 
the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ." And in the 
power of that hope they live, not only righteously and 
godly, but soberly, in this present world. 

Though that is an argument, indeed, of the general lan- 
guor of Christianity at this day, and particularly of Chris- 
tian hope, that greater latitudes are commonly taken 
among those that profess religion, in these our days, than 
have been heretofore. And it is sad to think it should be 


SO as to meats and drinks, and apparel, and whatsoever 
borders upon luxury. Truly reformed Christendom is not 
itself; England is not itself ; London is not itself ; the fa- 
milies of persons professing godliness are not what they 
were in these respects. And certain it is_, by how much 
more sensual inclination doth prevail, Christian hope doth 
proportionably so much the more languish. And, 

Difficulty 3. Another difficulty, that the hope of a 
Christian has to contend with, is, his foregoing all that he 
hath in this world for Christ's sake, whensoever he is 
thereunto called, by the concurrence of Christian pre- 
cepts with present providences. When those so state his 
case to him, as that it comes to this present posture ; things 
stand thus with him, and towards him, as they lie under 
his present view in such a juncture. " 1 must now disobey 
Christ, or I must lose and forego what is most desirable 
and delectable to me in this world, it may be, this very 
life itself. So hath the divine rule, and the divine provi- 
dence, taken together, stated my case, as to bring matters 
to this pinch, this necessity. 1 must forsake all, abandon 
whatsoever is most pleasing to me in all this world, even 
life itself, if that be required and called for upon the same 

There is a mighty difficulty in this case upon persons 
that dwell in human flesh, and that have faculties about 
them which do contemper and suit them to this sensible 
world in which they live. They have not only the diffi- 
culty upon them, that, while they enjoy such things they 
must enjoy them under a restraint, (as you heard before,) 
but whensoever they are called for ; they must part with 
them without regret ; willingly part with, and forego all. 
They cannot enjoy them, but under restraint; and they 
must part with them, and that without regret, if they be 
called for. As it is not more the commendation than it 
was the duty of those of whom the apostle speaks : " They 
took joyfully the spoiling of their goods." Heb. x. 34. And 
why did they so .'' They did it in the power of this same 
Christian hope, as knowing they had in heaven '* a better 
and more enduring substance." It was the hope of that 
which made them willingly part with, and forego, all that 
they had and enjoyed here. 

And this is the tenor of the Christian law that lies upon 
them, as you have it from the mouth of our blessed Lord 
himself: *' If any man doth not forsake all that he hath, 
he cannot be my disciple ;" Luke xiv. 33. he cannot be a 

siiH. XX.) The Difficulties of Hope. 283 

Christian, unless (suppositis supponendis) supposing such 
things as may be supposed, he doth forsake all;, when the 
particular juncture happens ; he doth now discover that he 
hath not the root of the matter in him, if he be not content 
to forsake all for my sake. But it is a Christian hope that 
enables him to do so ; because that hope possesseih him 
with a persuasion that he shall gain by it more than all 
he looseth. " We have forsaken all and followed thee/' 
say the disciples unto Christ ; and you shall be no losers, 
saith he to them. Take but my word, and you will have 
ground enough for that hope, that it shall not turn to your 
final loss. I^one that forsake houses, or lands, or father, 
or mother, or brother, or sister, for my sake, and for the 
gospel, but shall have in this world an hundred-fold, and 
hereafter eternal life. And it is the hope of this that makes 
a Christian willing to say. Then 1 can be content to let all 
go ; aye, even let all go ; he hath not deceived me that hath 
told me, and he will never deceive me that hath told me^, 
that 1 shall not be a final loser by it at length. And, 

Difficult]^ 4. There is this further difficulty in it, that he 
must, in some cases, not only lose all that he enjoys, but he 
must suffer all that it can be in the power of men to inflict, 
as to positive miseries and evils, that are of the greatest 
pungency unto the flesh and the sense that we carry about 
with us. All must be willingly undergone that is evil to 
our flesh, as all must be foregone that is good and grateful 
to it. And what shall enable any to do so, but the power of 
this hope .'' 

How full is the scripture and history of these instances! 
As full as it is of instances of the continual persecutions 
of Christians and Christianity itself, from age to age, ever 
since there came to be any such thing obtaining in the 
world. And it is proportionably full of instances of the 
power of this hope, carrying them whose hearts it did ani- 
mate, through whatsoever difficulties they had to encoun- 
ter in this case. That " cloud of witnesses," (which the 
apostle sets before our eyes in that lltli chapter of the 
Hebrews, and that we referred to but now,) so he calls 
those many witnesses, a cloud, a mighty cloud of such wit- 
nesses, all testifying to this one thing, to wit, to the power 
of that faith, and "consequently to that hope, by which, 
these mentioned were carried through such sufferings, 
calumnies, as there you read of : *' They were tempted, 
they were slain with the sword, they were sawn asunder, 
they wandered up and down in sheep-skins and goat-skins. 


being destitute, afflicted, tormented ;" men " of whom the 
world was not worthy." And amidst all these things they 
despised deliverance. And why ? Because they hoped for 
*' a better resurrection." It was that faith which carried 
them through all, which is described at the first verse, to 
be '* the substance of the things not seen, and the evidence 
of the things hoped for." Heb. xi. 1. The great things 
we hope for are made substantial to us ; we have that clear 
and substantiating representation of them before our eyes. 
And therefore, how many thousand deaths can we go 
through by the power of this hope ; — that hope itself being 
upheld and maintained all along by an immediate divine 
power ? 

And therefore is it that we read of such joy, and triumph, 
and exultation, in the midst of all these sufferings, which 
it was possible for human wit to invent, and human power 
to execute. It was not yet more than what they have been 
enabled to bear, and bear with a great deal of triumph 
many times ; so as that it appeared that they had all under 
their feet ; they could trample upon dangers and deaths, 
and were superior to them ; they could not fasten upon 
them, they could take no hold of their spirits. If one should 
lead you through the sufferings of Christians in the ten 
persecutions by Pagans ; their sufferings afterward by the 
Arians, who were not less bloody and cruel than the former ; 
their sufferings more lately by the Papists, which after 
followed, from age to age, for twelve hundred years toge- 
ther ; sufferings in this kind in this land, and sufferings in 
several adjoining countries. How numerous instances have 
we of the power of this hope in carrying the poor sufferers 
through, so as that not only have they not been removed 
from their Christian profession by all that they have suf- 
fered and endured ; but not from their alacrity and cheer- 
fulness of spirit : yea, that hath not only continued, but in- 
creased, and grown higher, more and more vigorous and 
glorious in them, by how much the more the approaches 
of trouble and danger were nearer. The speeches that 
have been uttered by many of them, even in the midst of 
their sufferings, have shewn a triumphant glorying joy in 
their hearts, which is the continual issue of this hope : 
" We rejoice in hope of the glory of God ;" and thereupon 
" we glory in tribulation." Rom. v. 3, 4. They gloried in 
tribulation, because they did rejoice in hope of the divine 

And therefore have they been enabled to brow-beat their 

SER. XX.) The difficulties of Hope. 285 

enemies, tlieir tormentors, the executioners of all those 
tragical things upon them which they suffered ; as when 
one should be able to tell the tyrant, after he had received 
so many wounds in his body, I thank thee, (oh tyrant,) 
that thou hast made me so many mouths wherewith to 
preach Christ ; for 1 take every wound thou hast given me 
to be a new mouth wherewith to utter the divine praises, 
and wherewith to preach and magnify my Redeemer. With 
multitudes of instances that one might give of the like 
kind ; which shew that the hope that lived in their souls, 
whilst they were even dying, did not only keep them from 
denying Christ, — did not only maintain religion, and keep 
that alive in them ; but made it triumph in an high degree 
of liveliness, vigour, and joy, that shewed itself more ex- 
alted amidst those exercises, than when there were no 
trials, no danger in view. And again, 

Difjicidty 5. The many tempations and buffetings in 
their spirits, which Christians do more ordinarily expe- 
rience in their course through the world. Nothing could 
carry through the vexation of this, (which cometh nearer, 
a great deal nearer, than what men can do when they only 
torture the outward man,) but only this hope : " God 
shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Though we be 
vexed with his suggestions, and very vexatious ones some- 
times they are, when blasphemous thoughts are injected 
and cast in ; there is an endeavour to fence against them, 
but they cannot keep them off; the tempter indeed cannot 
make the soul close or comply with the design of his temp- 
tations, but he dotli vex by tempting ; and that temptation 
cannot but be vexing, when the soul is solicited to think 
all the evil thoughts that the wicked one can be author or 
parent of to him, concerning God, and Christ, and reli- 
gion, and many false ones concerning himself. All the 
continual vexing temptations that the soul is followed with 
from day to day, it is only the hope of final victory that 
carries it through. 1 hope it will not be so always; I hope 
God will give me a complete victory at last ; he will.bruise 
Satan under my feet ere long. And, 

Difficult^/ 6. The complication of bodily and spiritual 
distempers together, so incident even to the generality of 
Christians ; a great tleal of lassitude, and dullness upon the 
outward man ; the prevalence of melancholy fumes and 
vapours, which fall in with a dark mind and dead heart ; 
and for those continual outcries, " Oh, wretched man, that 
I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death I" 


Rom. vii. 24. It is only deliverance in hope that carries 
•through all this difficulty : *' Thanks be to God, who hath 
given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 
1 Cor. XV. 57. I have conquest and victory in Christ, that 
hath loved me; I am many times in myself overcome, but 
in him many times 1 do overcome, and shall finally over- 
come. And, 

Difficulty 7. Divine desertions : when all these happen 
to meet together upon a poor creature, and God is with- 
drawn over and besides, — what a difficulty is here ? The 
withdrawing of such a presence as even that wicked Saul 
was capable of, how distressing was it to him when he was 
sensible of it ! There was a presence of God, whereof he 
had experience; but far beneath the excellency and de- 
lectableness of that gracious divine presence that he affords 
to Ills own, those that are peculiar to him: yet when Saul 
had lost that more exterior divine presence, saith he to 
Samuel, (when he had procured him to be raised from the 
dead, as that text doth please to express,) "■ I am greatly 
distressed; the Philistines make war upon me, and God is 
departed from me." 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. 

And it is so with a poor Christian ; many times men are Jet 
loose upon him; the devil is let loose upon him; there is a 
great deal of distemperature and deadness within; and at the 
same time God is gone and withdrawn from him; in his 
sense and apprehension gone; to appearance gone. And 
in that case, as to actual comfort, idem est esse et apparere ; 
idem non esse, et non apparere ; to seem and to be, as to 
comfort in such a case. Here is nothing to bear up now 
but hope. I hope all this darkness will be over ; all these 
clouds will vanish and flee away : " 1 will hope in God, that 
I shall yet praise him ; for he is the health of my counte- 
nance, and my God ; — why art thou cast down, O my 
my soul ? Trust in God, for 1 shall yet praise him." Psalm 
xlii. and xliii. I shall yet see a morning after so black 
and tempestuous a night. And, 

Difficulty 8. The wearisomeness of duty and exercises of 
religion, in the midst of all this, is yet a further difficulfy 
to a poor awakened soul. That is, he finds this to be the 
state of his case, that, in all the mentioned respects, let it 
be as ill with him as it can be supposed, yet he must not 
turn aside from following the Lord. I am in the way 
wherein I must persist ; I must pray still, and hear still, and 
approach his table still. To go on in such a course of duty 
as this, when the mind is dark, and the heart is dead, and 

SER. XX.) The Diffiadliei of Hope. 287 

there is a great weight and pressure lying upon the soul, 
and God is withdrawn, and 1 come to one duty after ano- 
ther, and one ordinance after another, and get nothing ; 
this is hard and heavy work; still to be (as the case is repre- 
sented with the disciples) fishing all the night, and nothing- 
taken. Now it is nothing but hope that can support and 
bear up in this case; this is the way of the Lord in which 
I am, and this way, I hope will have a good end. Though I 
walk heavily, and the chariot wheels seem to be taken off; 
though my soul is not the chariot of a willing people, as 
sometimes it hath been ; yet I must hold on my course ; I 
must persist in it. There is that in him all this while, that 
will not let him desist, will not let him give over; no, by 
no means; he hath that sense of duty, that conscience 
towards God, that light concerning the equity and reason- 
ableness of the thing that keeps him to it. God must have 
his homage, however it is with me, whether it be better or 
worse ; 1 must not defraud God ; I must do such and such 
acts, as acts of duty and obedience to the Lord of my life 
and being, whatever becomes of me. He hath a secret 
hope, that all will issue well ; and therefore holds on in his 
course. Fear will not let him go back ; and hope draws 
him forward ; for we are not to suppose that the asserting 
the necessity of the one of these is a diminution of, or de- 
traction from, the necessary influence of the other. We 
need all God's means and methods to help and urge us on 
in our way and course. And I might add to all this. 

Difficulty 9- The continual view of prevailing wicked- 
ness; a most afliicting and discouraging thing! When a 
Christian's way towards the end God hath set in view be- 
fore him lies in a world over-run with wickedness, and 
wherein they that curse God are secure ; he can turn his 
eye no way iDut he sees a world full of atheism, full of infi- 
delity, full of contempt of God,. and full of rebellion against 
him. I hope (saith he) truth, and righteousness, and reli- 
gion, and the love and fear of God, will triumph over all 
this at last. And because he so hopes, he persists and goes 
on in his well-chosen way. And in the last place, which I 
will close with. 

Difficulty 10. The slow progress of the Christian interest, 
and the diffusion of the knowledge of Christ in the world ; 
a most afflictive discouraging thing to all that are lovers of 
" our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." Indeed, it is that 
which would have a more particular aspect upon the con- 


dition of the faithful ministers of the gospel to see that the 
most part of their labours is labour in vain. 

And you know how far the temptation as to this hath 
prevailed : I said, I will speak no more in his name, (saith 
the prophet,) " but thy word was as fire in my bones;" 
Jer. XX. 9. that was not to be restrained. It is a very un- 
comfortable thing to labour in this kind, with the souls of 
men, which we apply ourselves to as reasonable, as intelli- 
gent, as capable of understanding us, and understanding 
the value of souls, and the differences of time and eternity, 
of present and everlasting things ; to deal with such upon 
agreed principles between them and us ; so as that they 
say, whatsoever we speak to them in the name of the 
Lord, it is all true. Tliey grant as much as we would have 
them grant, and acknowledge whatsoever, as to every 
thing we propound to them, especially in the greatest and 
most important things, which are also things of the greatest 
evidence and clearness, so as to force an acknowledgment; 
and so as that, when we deal with men about these things, 
(as you heard from that scripture lately,) we have nothing to 
do but to commend ourselves to the consciences of men in 
the sight of God. We appeal to you, whether these things 
be not true that we say to you, in the name of the Lord, 
yea or no. And they are generally acknowledged to be so. 
It is acknowledged that there is a world to come ; that 
there is a state of retribution ; that there is a judgment 
day, when men are to receive " the things done in the 
body, whether they be good or evil ;" and wherein only 
a spiritual holy life, begun here in this world, will end in 
eternal life; and prevailmg wickedness, continued in, will 
end in eternal death. 

These things we represent and lay before men in the 
name of the Lord, and they say it is all true. And yet they 
are the same men, Non persuadebis etiamsi persuaserh; 
though we have convinced men, we have not conquered 
them ; we have persuaded, and all signifies nothing ; and 
it is because they have no hope. It is an observable ex- 
pression, that, in the 18th of Jeremiah, (I have formerly 
told you of another like it, chap. ii. ^25. and it is worth our 
notice,) " Return ye, now, every one from his evil ways, 
and make your ways and your doings good." Jer. xviii. 
1 1, 12. So God bespeaks them by the prophet, or the pro- 
phet bespeaks them in the name of God : " But they said 
there is no hope, but we will walk after our own devices. 

SER. XX.) Hope triumph nnt. 289 

and will every one do the imagination of his evil heart." 
Because there is no hope ; we have no hope that ever we 
shall be able to alter our course, or that ever we shall be 
able to do good of" it in an attempt of" reformation; and 
therefore, we will go on as we have done. 

Truly then, this is the sense and posture of them that 
we have to deal with in tiie name of tlie Lord ; they will 
not turn, because there is no hope; the case would be the 
same with us now, who so deal with men ; that is, we should 
give over treating with them if we had no liope ; we would 
speak to them no more in that name, nor o|)en a Bible in 
our solemn assemblies, if we had no hope; but, because we 
have this hope, we use great freedom of speech, we Hope 
we shall prevail at length; and we hope, however, that, 
our blessed Lord Jesus shall have a glorious body out of 
this world before he hath done; a glorious community, 
that shall be associated to " the general assembly and church 
of the first-born, written in heaven; the innumerable com- 
pany of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect;" 
whether men we speak to now in his name do hear or for- 
bear, he shall have a glorious assembly above. "He will be 
glorified in all them that believe," because the gospel tes- 
timony was received. That will be a triumphant day; and 
our hope of bearing a share and part in the triumphs of that 
day carries us through; and we go on, notwithstanding 
this great difficulty ; a principal difficulty it is to us. But 
it is a common difficulty to " all that love our Lord Jesus 
Christ in sincerity ;" according as it is the common desire 
to have the Christian religion, in the power, life, and vigour 
of it, spread ; and that more souls may be proselyted and 
brought in : all that love Christ, and all that love the souls 
of men, cannot but have this desire; and accordingly the 
difficulty and trouble is great that tliey have continually 
to conflict with, that so little is done in this case, and that 
they see so little done in their day. But the hope of a 

lorious issue must carry you through all these difficulties, 

his will have a glorious end at last. 




Romans, vim. 24. 
We are saved by hope. 

We have insisted largely in opening to you the great 
important truth contained in these words ; and now, our yet 
remaining business is to make some use of it, which will 

Use 1. In divers instructive inferences that this truth will 
afford us. As, 

Inference 1. If we are saved by hope, then we are lost by 
despair ; no inference can be more plain. 

If the souls of men are to be saved by hope, they are 
liable to be lost by despair. And it hath been ray great 
design, from this and some other texts, to do what in me 
should lie to keep you from that horrid gulph. But I must 
in faithfulness tell you, that there is, as to this, most dan- 
ger where there is least apprehension or suspicion of it. 
There is a raging despair, and there is a silent dead despair. 
This latter is the fullest of danger, according as it is less 
obvious unto observation, and lies as a mortal disease in 
wrapping the hearts of them who suspect nothing less than 
that they should be despairing creatures. But when we are 
told that we are saved by hope, it cannot be understood by 
any hope whatsoever; for there is an hope that-will undo, 
that will destroy ; and so you may, ere long, have oppor- 
tunity to know too, that there is a despair which is as ne- 
cessary, as there is a hope that is mortal and destructive ; 
but there is with all a deadly despair, that kills and destroys 
when it is never felt. 

When we say we are saved by hope, it must be meant 
by the truly Christian hope; that hope that is vital, lively ; 
the terminus productus in regeneration : " Blessed be the 
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according 
to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a 
lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the 
dead." I Pet. i. 3. We are begotten to a lively hope, an 

* Preached July 19, 1691. 

SER. XXI.) The Christianas Hope lively. 291 

hope that lives. The want of this hope is the despair I 
mean ; and it would not be despair in every subject; but in 
such a subject as is capable of that hope, and where that 
hope ought to be, it is despair. As the want of life is death 
in a man, but not in a stone; when there is not a lively 
hope terminating upon God, and upon a blessed eternity, 
and an unseen glory; when there is not such an hope, 
where that hope hath not its proper place, there lies and 
lurks this deadly despair. A vacancy of hope towards God 
and the blessedness of the other state, where it ought to 
be, and which indeed doth carry much of the essence in it 
(as we shall have further occasion to note) of the new crea- 
ture; and it is the very perfection of human nature itself; 
to wit, to have a soul directed towards God by the power 
of a vital hope, continually expecting felicity and blessed- 
ness from him; 1 say, the vacancy of it is despair. But 
that perfection of our nature, regeneration brings in and 
supplies. " We are begotten again to a lively hope;" as 
the degeneration, deformity, and depravedness of human 
nature expels and keeps it out. But it so much belongs 
to a man as a man, that, as Philo Judasus (who speaks but 
as such an one) doth fitly enough say, Hope in God is so 
much of human nature, that he is unworthy to be called a 
man that is destitute of it. Now that soul is destitute of 
it that hath no commerce with God, that hath nothing to 
do with him day by day. Where there is no hope, there is 
despair Godward, *' without God, and without hope." 
Ephes. ii. 12. You (whoever it be) that transact all your 
affairs without God, have nothing to do with God from 
morning to night, you have no hope; none of this vital 
hope, this living hope, by which we are to be saved. Do 
you hope in God, when you have nothing to do with him, 
when you mind him not, when no thought of him comes 
into your heart ? 

I pray, let none so deceive themselves as to think that 
there is no such thing as despair when they feel not the 
flames of hell in their souls ; for, sure a lethargy may be as 
mortal as a burning fever; when there is such a stupidity 
upon the soul, such a mindlessness of God, that there is in 
reference to him neither fear nor hope. And as our present 
state is, even in reference to the business of salvation, there 
cannot be hope but there must be fear too ; there is no such 
hope as to exclude fear in the present state, nor such fear 
as to exclude hope. But here is the dismal state of the 
case, as to the most, that they have neither hope nor fear 

u 2 


ia reference to the affairs of their souls, and their everlasting 
concerns ; wherever they are, they have no thoughts of such 
matters ; there is neither hope nor fear. And where, then, is 
that which should save you ? If we are indeed to be saved 
by hope, we are lost by the vacancy of it, and when there is 
no such thing as fear also. But doth such a supine neg- 
lectfulness and ossitancy, with reference to the concerns of 
our souls and our everlasting state, agree with the common 
notion of us all ; that this present state is but a state of 
probation and preparation, in reference to a final and eter- 
nal state? Is it so indeed? And have we, in reference to 
that final state, neither hope nor fear? What is like to be 
the issue of this ? But, 

Inference 2. We again infer, that the happiness of a 
Christian is future ; for it is the object of hope, — that hope 
which is to have a continual influence upon his salvation, 
now the object of hope is somewhat future and unseen ; 
somewhat that lies out of sight as yet. " We are saved by 
hope; but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man 
seeth, why doth he yet hope for it ? But if we hope for that 
which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it ;" 
as the following words of the text shew us. Understand 
and consider aright then, the state of one that is a Chris- 
tian indeed. He is one that hath his best and supreme 
good lying in futurity, and out of sight. He lives by that 
faith " which is the substance of things hoped for, and the 
evidence of things not seen." Heb. xi. 1. He is one that 
hath not his good things here. Luke xvi. 25. This is a 
true account of his state ; his portion is not in this life. 
Psalm xvi. 1. His estate lies in reversion ; it is somewhat 
expected, somewhat looked for; he takes hold of it by that 
hope which is cast, " as an anchor of the soul, within the 
veil ; (Heb. vi. 19, 20.) whither Jesus, the forerunner, for us 
entered ;" and so his title is sure, for there is such an one 
gone before, who, having procured, is thereupon gone to 
take possession of his inheritance for him. 

Then, if you are to make an estimate or judgment of the 
condition of a Christian, a saint, a child of God, do not 
judge of it by present appearances, and the external state 
of his present case, while he is here in this world ; so it may 
be an appearance, not only mean, but frightful ;- — you may 
behold him not only a despised one, but an hated one, per- 
secuted, trodden under foot by an injurious, angry world; 
— angry for this, that he seems not to have his satisfaction 
in the same things that they have, but to be aiming at 

SER. XXI.) Hope respects future Glory. 293 

somewhat else above and beyond them. This is displeasing ; 
this is ungrateful. The world doth not understand such a 
sort of men : " Behold, what manner of love the Father 
hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons 
of God ! — therefore the world knoweth us not, (1 John iii. l.) 
because it knew him not." It knows nothing at all of this 
race, neither father, nor children. The world knows nothing 
of them ; it cannot tell how to form an idea, a distinct 
notion, of this sort of men, that are so descended, and of 
such a parentage. They are men of another genius, ano- 
ther spirit, another kind of design. The tendency of their 
course is another way, and they know not what to make of 
it; " therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew 
him not;" and because it doth not know, it hates. And 
all the effects of hatred many times appear mighty conspi- 
cuous towards that sort of men ; and would do more, it is 
likely, if they did appear more like themselves, and did 
more plainly avow their unrelatedness to this world, and 
their relation to, and expectations from an upper world, an 
higher world. But as it is, as the divine nature that is in 
them doth more or less speak forth, and shew itself, so it 
stirs the indignation of a deserted forsaken world against 
them, in whom that nature is and doth appear. And then, 
by this means, they come to be counted the scum and off- 
scouring of all things. 

Therefore their condition is not to be judged of by such 
measures as these; do not judge of the bonum, the optahile, 
what is good, and what is desirable in the state of a sincere 
living Christian, by these present appearances, that lie un- 
der common view, as now he is a mean, despised, hated 
thing; but consider him in that state which his hopes do 
aim at and tend to, and then you will behold him arrayed 
with the garments of salvation ; for it is the hope of salva- 
tion that aids him, animates him, and carries him through 
his course, and which finally will actually save him. Be- 
hold him as he is crowned with a diadem of glory, and 
associated with that blessed community of saved ones, as 
one that comes to bear his part in adorning the triumphs 
of his great and glorious Lord and Redeemer, in that day 
when he shall appear to be " admired in his saints, and to 
be glorified in all them that believe;" because the gospel 
testimony was received among them in the proper day and 
season thereof. And judge now what it is to be a Chris- 
tian ; take your measures of the state of a Christian by 

u 3 


what he hopes for ; not by what he is, but what he reasoii- 
ably and groundedly hopes to be. And again, 

Inference 3. Tlie futurities of a Christian are far more 
considerable than all the present enjoyments of this world. 
" We are saved by hope;" and, for this world, it is well if 
we can be saved from it ; but we are never to expect being 
saved by it ; but by the Hope of these great futurities we 
are saved. Then, certainly, a Christian's futurities are far 
more considerable, and far more eligible, than all present 
worldly enjoyments whatsoever. And you may judge so 
by this, that such an one is inspired from heaven itself 
with such an hope as this, that makes him neglect all this 
earth, and breathe and tend continually upwards. That is a 
true judgment which proceeds from the directions and 
operations of the Divine Spirit. He that hath made them 
hope hath made them thus judge; (for they do not hope 
irrationally or brutishly,) that the enjoyments of this world 
are not comparable to the expectations of believers in re- 
ference to the other world. You may trust to that judg- 
ment which is made in the virtue, and by the special direc- 
tion of his Spirit, who is the God of hope : " The God of 
hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing," as the 
apostle's expression is, Rom. xv. 13. 

Therefore, if you would make a judgment in this case, 
which is the most desirable thing, a large, full, and opulent 
portion here in this world, or " an inheritance with the 
saints in light," guide your judgment, (if you cannot judge 
by an immediate light of your own,) by theirs, who may 
best be presumed to have light in this matter ; to wit, that 
have this divine principle put into them by God himself, 
which looks with neglect upon all present things, and 
waving and overlooking them, turns away from them, and 
tends its eye and course forwards towards an unseen glory 
and felicity elsewhere. We do commonly take that as 
likely to be true, which the wisest and most judicious 
commonly agree in. Now this is the agreed sense of all 
the children of God in all times and ages : and thereupon 
they are carried, according to judgment and choice, to wave 
a present portion and felicity in this world, and seek it 
elsewhere ; we may certainly conclude, that the heavenly 
felicity, which is hoped for by this sort of men, is every 
way more considerable, eligible, and desirable, than the 
best worldly portion that can be had here on earth. But it 
is a great matter when we assent to this, (which we shall 
do notionaljy, as soon as we hear it notionally,) to have 

SEE. XXI.) Hope the life of true Religion. 296 

also the living sense thereof wrought into our souls, so as 
to be able to say, I not only know it to be so, but I feel it 
to be so. But again, further, 

Itference 4. We may infer that hope is the life of all true 
and serious religion. If there be any such thing as living 
Christianity among us, hope is the life of it. You will 
easily apprehend, that religion is the way to felicity, the 
means to the blessed end. But what kind of religion must 
it be ? Not dead religion, but living ; and there can be 
no living religion but what is animated by hope, and by 
the hope of that very end, to which it is itself in a tendency. 
The religion of the present state is nothing else but incho- 
ate felicity ; it is heaven begun; it is a coming to God, 
and tending towards him. It is one and the same principle 
by which any thing doth move and rest. The same nature 
which is the principle of motion and of rest. If religion be 
a principle of motion to carry us unto God, it will be a 
principle of rest, to give us the actual repose and satisfac- 
tion and solace of soul, that being in him consists in. But 
this must be living religion, and not dead. And there can 
be no life in it but as it is continually inspired by hope. 

Religion being an aiming at God, a tendency towards 
God, to wit, the religion of the way; the religion of the 
present state ; it must continually be influenced by such an 
apprehension as this, that he is willing to be a " rewarder 
of them that diligently seek him." " He that cometh to 
God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of 
them that diligently seek him." Heb. xi. 6. And it is this 
faith that is the immediate foundation of hope, I hope I 
shall find him the rewarder of ray soul. I hope my labour 
in the Lord will not be in vain. This is that that doth in- 
spirit religion, and make it a living thing. There is indeed 
a religion in the world that hath no life in it, that lies all 
in empty shew, and form, and external appearance. But, 
if there be life in it, hope is the life of it. I hope I shall 
reach a blessed end at last in this way. The business of 
religion is to seek God ; in seeking him I hope that I shall 
find him ; Ifind life, and satisfaction, and felicity, and eter- 
nal blessedness in him. This hope is the soul of religion, 
and the very life of it. 

And you ought to consider it so ; that, accordingly, the 
several parts of your religion maybe animated and influ- 
enced by it. Those are dull duties, that are not considered 
as your way to your end. Every such duty as we are now 
engaged in at this time should be considered thus : this is 

u 4 



part of my way to heaven, part of my way to a blessed 
eternity; we are now met here with that expectation and 
hope, that we shall, ere long, be taken up to the '* general 
assembly and church of the first-born; to an innumerable 
company of angels, and the spirits of just men made per- 
fect." Heb. xii. 23. This would make the dpties and ordi- 
nances of every Lord's day lively things with us, when we 
are all aiming to take hold, in every such duty, of*' the end 
of our faith, even the salvation of our souls." But if we come 
together here only to see one another's faces, or to hear the 
sound of a few empty words, without knowing whither 
they tend, without minding to what end they serve, or what 
they aim at, or because we know not how else to spend so 
many hours of a day that is not allowed for our common 
labour; we shall make but a flat thing of our religion. 
But if our religion be a living thing, hope is the end of it, 
—I hope my way will end in eternal felicity at length ; this 
is my way to God and glory, and to a blessed eternity. 

Inference 5. You may further learn that all serious reli- 
gion doth involve and carry in it a design for salvation and 
eternal blessedness : for we are saved by the hope of this, 
and there can be no hope of it without the design of it; 
what we hope for we design for, otherwise our hope is alto- 
gether an useless, inactive thing in us. We are only saved 
by hope, as by hope we are prompted to design salvation, 
and are made lively and vigorous in the prosecution of that 
design ; which way else should hope save us, but as it en- 
gageth to lay a design for salvation, and as it enables us 
with life and vigour to prosecute that design, as a com- 
passable thing, as a thing that may be brought about, and, 
by God's gracious vouchsafement, will and shall ? 

And it is therefore deeply to be considered, that our hope 
of being saved, and our design for salvation, must measure 
one another; he that drives no such design through the 
whole of his abode in this world, he must be looked upon 
as one of those (of whom I have told you before) that hath 
rio hope in him; no living hope; was never begotten to a 
lively hope. If he have a living hope in him of a final feli- 
city in God, that will continually prompt him to design, 
and to prosecute his design with strength and vigour, for a 
blessed aiid a glorious eternity. And I pray let us make 
our reflexion seriously upon this, as in the sight and pre- 
sence of God. Do we carry it from day to day as those 
that are striving a design for salvation and eternal gloryf 

SER. xxi.) Hope of Adoption. 297 

As those that are going to lieaven ? As candidates of eter- 
nal heavenly felicity ? Do we live like such ? Tlien should 
we be every day on the wing, reaching forth (as it is the na- 
ture of hope to do) with fervent, raised, aspirings towards 
the iieavenly state. We that have the first fruits of the 
Spirit, groan within ourselves, (as it is spoken in the im- 
mediate foregoing verse in this context,) waiting for the 
adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body ; for we are 
saved by hope, so the words are connected. We are saved 
by the hope of that very state, wherein we are to be owned 
openly of God, as his children ; which is here called the 

There was among the Romans a double adoption ; there 
was a private adoption; that is, the foundations were laid 
by some private act. But afterwards it came to be de- 
clared in foro, and to be enrolled, that such an one did 
adopt such an one, to be his son. And, it is in reference 
to this latter sort of adoption, or the complement and so- 
lemnization of it, that we are said to wait for the adoption ; 
that is, the children of God, they that were adopted before; 
fundamentally they yet wait for the solemnization of that 
adoption, when the manifestation shall be of the sons of 
God, when it shall be declared before angels and men, as it 
will, in the judgment of the great day. These I take for my 
sons and adopted ones ; and it is by the hope of this we are 
saved, for we are saved by hope, as immediately there fol- 
loweth. And I say, that this hope can no otherwise save 
them, than as it doth continually influence a design of that 
salvation. But if our great business here in this world be 
from day to day nothing else but to feed upon the dust of 
the earth, and to please and indulge self, and the flesh ; if 
this be the design we are daily striving, we have none of 
this hope that saves souls; where that hope is, a corres- 
pondent design cannot but be. The religion of such in- 
volves and carries in it a continual design for the blessed- 
ness of the heavenly state : therefore nothing can be more 
incongruous and absurd, than to keep up a shew and face 
of religion, while yet the hearts of men, if they will but re- 
flect are conscious to themselves of no such design : they 
are not aiming at God, or at blessedness in God ; the pos- 
sessing of a future felicity, and glory in him, and with him. 
They cannot justly and truly pretend to such a thing. Then 
(I say) is a course of religion the greatest absurdity in the 
world ; to do in a continued course those actions that have 
only reference unto such an end, and never to refer to that 


end. To be religious without design, to wit, the proper 
design of religion, (which is felicit}^,) nothing can be more 

Objection. But it may be said, how is it possible that a 
man should be religious without design f A man doth not 
^ct in religion, but it must be done voluntary ; and if it be 
done voluntary, it must be done for an end, so there can be 
no such thing (you will say) as keeping up a course of reli- 
gion, without a design. 

Answer. Very true, indeed, there could be no such thing 
as keeping up a course of religion, without a design ; but 
that is not the matter I speak of, a design in general. A 
man cannot do a series of merely human actions without 
some design or other, or simply without any design ; but 
when the actions that make up a course of religion are 
done, we cut this -design for the proper end of religion. 
Here lies the absurdity and incongruity that I now state, to 
tear a series and course of actions from their proper end, 
and not refer them to that end, this is most irrational trifling. 
As if, when all the other actions of a man's life are done 
for a certain determinate end only in the great business of 
religion, he plays the fool, he doth the thing, but never 
minds the end ; keeps such days as these ; comes to 
church ; attends upon the public solemnities of God's wor- 
ship; but never thinks of heaven, never minds eternal 
glory, as the thing in this way to be designed for. And 
so his religion, and the duties of it, bear no proportion to 
his end, to that end that they were made for. There is a 
two-fold design driven by religion, or by carrying on a 
course of religion by very different sorts of men. That is a 
design for this world, and a design for the world to come : 
some are religious only with a design for this world ; to wit, 
that 1 may carry it fair with men in this world, or with 
that sort of men which 1 think fittest, and have some in- 
ducements which lead me to associate with, to apply myself 
to them, and to have their good opinion, and have a good 
reputation among them ; I am willing, therefore, to be as 
they are, and to do as they do ; here is a design for this 
world driven in religion, and the actions and duties of it ; 
not (it maybe) to gain ; but there may be many worldly de- 
signs, besides that of gain ; worldly repute and credit 
among those whose opinion I most esteem, and put a value 
upon, and to whom, therefore, in such a way, 1 think to 
approve and recommend myself. 

But there is also a design driven in religion for the world 

SER. XXI.) -4 Religion without Hope. 299 

to come. And this is the true and proper design of reli- 
gion. And where the former only is designed^ we can 
hardly ever comprehend in our thoughts a more horrid 
frightful case; when a man is doing the great sacred acts of 
religion, without a design for their proper end, and in mere 
subserviency to some mean and inferior design, by how 
much the less that is, or the lower the design is, or by how 
much the less is to be got by it, so much is religion the 
lower debased ; being thereby put into a subserviency to 
that which, it may be, shall be worth nothing to men ; that 
I shall never gain by one way or other : and yet, 1 choose 
to do acts of religion ; or to do these, and not take other acts 
thereof; or, to do these I do in this or that form ; and do 
all in accommodation to some secular purpose, and design : 
but the eternal purposes of religion are forgotten, neglect- 
ed, and never thought of by me. This is to prostitute the 
most sacred, venerable thing imaginable, (religion,) to the 
meanest and most despicable end. 

How is this to be answered for, or wherein can we pos- 
sibly conceive a more horrid sort of sacrilege than this ? 
The acts of religion have a sacrednesss in them ; but I aliene 
them from their proper end. This I do not, in order to 
the serving of God ; not in order to the saving of my soul ; 
or not in reference to an eternal state ; but 1 do it to please 
my own present humour, or my friend's humour. Is this that 
indeed which we will resolve our religion into? Such tri- 
fling with religion is that, which will be dearly accounted 
for at the last day. To do that which we ought to do for 
pleasing and glorifying of God, and saving our souls in the 
day of the Lord Jesus, we cannot tell why, or for what 
reason, will come to a fearful reckoning at last. We ought 
to bethink ourselves at all such times, when we are thus 
assembled; What am I here to day for? Why did I come 
to this place this morning ? Why did I take upon me to 
make one, and bear a part in a Christian religious assembly ? 
Did 1 do it as one that hoped for salvation, and expected 
eternal life in this way ? Was it that 1 might draw so much 
nearer to God, and be so much the more acquainted with 
him, and fitted for that state which 1 profess to hope for? 
But again, 

Inference 6. We may further learn, that there is a very 
great sagacity belonging to the new creature, and the re- 
generate state ; we are saved by hope ; this imports the 
new creature, those that are born of God in order to eter- 
nal life, to be a very sagacious sort of creatures. The new 


creature is a very foreseeing creature ; it is in this, eminently 
distinguished from other creatures, even of the same rank and 
order in God's creation ; to wit, merely human creatures : 
whereas others look merely, or only, to the present, here is 
a strange foresight in this sort of creature that is born of 
God, by which it eyeth, and looketh towards salvation, and 
eternal blessedness. As soon as it. is born, '' It is begot- 
ten again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus 
Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance reserved in hea- 
ven for it." 1 Peter i. 5. The new creature hath an hope 
belonging to its essence; as soon as it begins to be, and 
breathe, it begins to hope. It is born to the hope of im- 
mortality and eternal life. 

We ought to consider this, and a great judgment is to 
be made of our own state, by what we find instilled into 
ourselves of that spiritual sagacity and foresight." There are 
many that are apt to be foreseeing, (and value themselves 
greatly upon it) of temporary events, the probability of 
such and such events, and love to discourse and reason 
thereupon ; as politicians, or as prophets, they can value 
themselves greatly upon such foresight; but here is the 
true foresight that sees into eternity. 

That is the best, and clearest, and strongest sight that 
can see furthest ; that overlooks (it may be) the concern- 
ments of to-morrow, of this year and the next, within the 
bounds and compass of time; yea, looks beyond all time, 
penetrates into eternity, beholds the judgment seat, the 
Judge sat, the books opened, the dead raised, and men dis- 
posed severally to their eternal states. The new creature, 
that divine birth, which fetcheth its original immediately 
from God, this is its sagacity ; with such sagacity and 
foresight it is endowed. " We are saved by liope," we 
have an hope by which we expect to be saved, which pene- 
trates into the unseen futurities of an everlasting state. 

Inference 7. We may hereupon conclude too. That there 
is a certain generosity, a nobleness, a greatness of mind 
that doth belong unto a regenerate person. The new crea- 
ture, one that is born of God, by which he is borne up 
above all this world, tramples upon it, scorns its smiles, 
smiles at its frowns and scorns, despiseth its threats and 
terrors, looks still beyond it and above it. What is all this 
world to me.'' A shadow, a despicable vanity! My great 
concernments lie above in a superior world, in a remoter 
world. This is generous and great. Oh ! saith one that is 

SKU. XXI.) Greatness of mind in the Regenerate. 301 

born of God, 1 cannot live at the common rate, I cannot 
live upon this country fare, I must fetch in all the provi- 
sions 1 live by, from day to day, from heaven ; eat heavenly 
food, and drink heavenly drink, such meat and such drink 
as the world affords not ; for such a prepossession, and 
such H pre-occupation, there is by hope of the felicity of 
heaven, and of the heavenly state. They do support this 
frail mortal life as others do; but they have another life 
that is to be supported in another way, and by other means ; 
and in reference to which they find an unsuitableness in 
all things under the sun, as we should in gravel for our 
meat, and puddle for our drink ; so that if you ask such an 
one, what he lives by, as to the maintenance of that nobler 
life that is in him, he will answer, by hope. 

You may possibly (some of you) have heard and read of 
a great Prince and General, who, upon a conquest, dis- 
pensing great largesses among his Soldiers, was asked, And 
what, Sir, do you reserve for yourself ? Why hope, saith 
he. 1, for my part, live upon hope. I give away all that I 
have now got, and live upon the hope of more. This is 
the generosity and nobleness of mind that is in-wrought 
into a regenerate person, When he becomes so, he des- 
piseth all things under the sun as a portion, as a final ter- 
minative good, and lives upon hope. And this we must 
come to, if ever we come to know what it is to be Chris- 
tians, it is too little understood (I am afraid to this day) 
what it is to be a Christian, though we have long borne 
that name. Are not we told, they are a sort of people 
called out of the world ? " They are not of this world," (saith 
our blessed Lord, in that concluding solemn prayer of his, 
when he was going out of the world,) " even as I am not of 
this world." John xvii. l6. Oh, what an horrid thing would 
it be to contradict our blessed Lord, in the sense of our 
own hearts ! He saith, " they are not of this world ;" but 
here is one answering. Aye, Lord, but I am of this world ; 
one with this world, united to it: I savour the things of 
the world, as the men of the world do ; I choose with them, 
and enjoy with them : a fearful thing from the sense of our 
hearts, to contradict our blessed Lord! to have him say, 
" They that are mine are not of this world, as I am not of 
this world;" and we be forced to say, concerning ourselves. 
Yes, but we are of this world, and related to this world more 
than any other, and savour the things of this world more 
than any other. 

There are sundry other inferences more that I intend 


now to go through, but there is one thing for the present^ 
I would shut up with, though I do therein anticipate and 
prevent myself; that is, only to recommend this one thing 
to you, as a piece of solemn counsel and serious consider- 
ation, that you will labour to get your souls possessed of 
this principle, and direct it towards its final object; let it 
reach forth even unto the very last of the object that it is 
to be taken up about ; for this we must know, that there 
are intermediate objects, and there is that at length which 
is most finally final. But hope hath its strongest and most 
powerful influences, as it doth reach furthest, reach into a 
most glorious eternity; and makes us say within ourselves, 
I hope to be there ere long. What a wonderful thing 
would it be, if we could always worship under such an 
hope ! what mighty vigour would it infuse into our religion, 
to say to every one that meet together in such an assembly: 
We meet together in hope and expectation of having our 
eternal abode with that blessed society above, in the man- 
sions of glory that are prepared already in our Father's 
house ! To have this hope live in us, what life would it 
not transfuse through all our duties, and through the whole 
course of our religion ! 

And what a pleasant relish would it give to all our pre- 
sent mercies, such as we have greater occasion, more so- 
lemnly to bless God for; when we have matter of praise 
laid before us, and offered to us, as we have at this day ! We 
have heard of the great success God hath blessed and 
crowned them with, who have been fighting his battles of 
late, especially in a neighbouring kingdom, it is a great 
thing to say. Blessed be God that hath done so much, and 
I hope will do more, and will enable them to carry on the 
work further; and 1 hope beyond all that, that I shall be 
one of the saved community at last. What spirit and life 
would that add to our prayer and praise ! 

And on the other side, what a damp and diminution 
would it be to all our matter of praise, and to the praiseful- 
ness of our spirits, to say, I have heard, indeed, that things 
have gone pretty well of late in Savoy, in Germany, and 
greatly well in Ireland ; but all this while I have no hope 
of being saved; I have no hope of things going well with 
me hereafter : things may go well here, for aught I know, 
with them to whom I wish well ; but I have no hope that 
things will go well with me for ever, or in an everlasting 
state. What a damp is this to the great praisefulness of a 
man's spirit, and what a diminution to the present matter 

SER. XXII.) Exhortation to Hope. 303 

of his praise ! It is an insignificant thing for me to put in 
my rejoicing with their joy, who are pleased with any such 
good successes at these ; and in the mean time to be forced 
to say, Alas! there is a dreadful doom hanging over me, 
and over my soul ; I have nothing in me that looks like a 
principle of the divine life ; and yet I am sure that life must 
be now begun in me, that must be connected with eternal life. 
A present spiritual death hath no connection with eternal 
life, it must be a spiritual life, of which this hope (as you 
have heard) is so great a principle, tliat shall end in life 



We are saved hy hope. 

I HAVE made some progress in the use, and some instruc- 
tive inferences I have recommended to you; and more I 
did intend to add, but I shall now wave them, intending to 
make all the haste I can to go through what I most princi- 
pally intended on this subject. 

And, that w^iich remains is to direct to the serious and 
most earnest (in that way which may be the most proba- 
ble) endeavour of getting this noble principle implanted, 
cultivated, and improved, amongst us towards this its 
high and glorious end, our own salvation. And, because 
(as hath been largely shewn you,) this great principle 
(Hope) contributes thereunto, both by the influence that it 
hath in order to the conversion of the unconverted, and by 
the influence that it hath upon the perseverance of the con- 
verted ; therefore, the tenour of my discourse herein must 
be suitable hereunto, and must respect both these sorts of 
persons ; but so as that I do hope each may find their owa 
concern in each part of the following discourse, while yet 
the several parts may more principally and directly respect 
the one sort or the other. And, 

Direction 1. The direction 1 shall give you, (and which 
will certainly concern us all,) is, that we may all more se- 

* Preached September 13, 1691. 


liously and earnestly mind the great business of our own 
salvation, and more deeply concern ourselves about it. 1 
am sure such hope can never signify any thing with them, 
in order to salvation, who are not concerned about their 
salvation, that mind no such matter. 1 am very little 
willing to be much in repetition of any thing that hath 
been said to you formerly ; but, if 1 would repeat any 
thing, I can do nothing that is more fit to be reconsidered, 
than what I told you upon the first inference : that, if 
hope have such a tendency to our salvation ; despair must 
have a like tendency to our destruction. If souls are to be 
saved by hope, they are in greatest danger to be lost by des- 
pair. 1 say, what 1 told you upon that head, to wit, that 
there are two sorts of despair ; a silent, calm, stupid des- 
pair, and a strong raging despair. 

There are a great many that are in despair about their 
salvation, who never think they are; and in whom it makes 
no noise ; to wit, that are without any real vivid hope con- 
cerning their salvation ; and the vacancy of hope, right 
hope, in a subject to which it belongs is to be called by the 
name of its contrary, despair. According to the known, 
and most common agreed rules of reasoning, in such mat- 
ters ; those souls that are dead towards God, and their 
own eternal concernments, have no hope in God, and are 
really sunk in despair, and are likely to be lost and perish 
by it, if mercy do not seasonably mend their case. 

And, in what I am now pressing you unto, hope, to get it 
implanted, and improved to its proper purpose ; 1 would be 
loath to be mistaken, as if, in pressing to hope, I pressed to 
security. And indeed I would hardly think that any one 
that hath the understanding of a man, that will use thought, 
can be guilty of so gross a mistake ; for sure there is the 
widest and broadest difference imaginable between secu- 
rity and hope. The hope of salvation, of eternal life, and 
eternal well-being! What? is there any thing in this like 
security ? Such an hope is a positive thing, a real, and 
great something ; security is but a vacuity of fear and care 
about a man's own concernments ; and that is a mere no- 
thing. What ? 1 beseech you, is there no difference between 
something so great, a something and nothing? Such an 
hope is a most lively, powerful, active principle, whereso- 
ever it is; and mightily stirs in the soul, ami makes it 
mightily bestir itself, in the pursuit of its end : security, as 
it is nothing, so it doth nothing; it puts the soul upon 
doing nothing, lets it still be dead, and unconverted: care 

SEii. XXII.) Hope and fear co-existent. 305 

for being saved who will for them, for their parts they do 
not. There is no likeness between these two things, secu- 
rity, and such an hope. 

But now if I do not prevail with you, as to this first di- 
rection, the throwing off security, and minding more seri- 
ously, and in good earnest, the concerns of your souls ; 
my labour is lost, and your souls are lost; and if 1 gain 
not this first point among you, all that is said and designed 
is to no purpose. But can any, upon sober consideration, 
think that it is a likely matter that salvation is so common 
as the neglect of it is ? Or, are men in a likely way to be 
saved, that so generally disregard any such tiling, think of 
no such matter from day to day, and from year to year ? 
Is that imagination agreeable to scripture calls and warn- 
ings ? Strive to enter in at the strait gate, that leads to life. 
Work our your own salvation with fear and trembling. 
What ? Are all such words from the mouth of God, and by 
his inspired servants, only sown to the wind, thrown among 
men into empty air ? 

If we would consider things reasonably, and with sober 
understandings, nothing would be more obvious to us than 
to bethink ourselves, that contraries have all their place 
in the same subject, not in divers: and thus in this case so 
it must be, so it ought to be ; this being a matter of mo- 
ral consideration, that wherever there ought to be hope, 
there ought to be fear too ; the exigency of the case re- 
quiring it. And while matters do yet hang dubiously, (as 
they will do more or less, with all of us in this region of 
mortality,) we shall never be past all danger, nor all ap- 
pearances of it ; there will be no more perfection of assu- 
rance, than perfection of holiness. Doth the scripture say in 
vain to us, that we are to be saved by hope ? And doth the 
same scripture, the same word of God, say to us. Work out 
your own salvation with fear and trembling r Sure there is 
no repugnancy between these things, but a necessary agree- 
ment, a most necessary agreement. 

And, as contraries do always exist only in the same sub- 
ject, so in lower degrees they do always co-exist in it, exist 
in it together : and therefore, where there is hope, there 
ought to be fear, in reference and respect to the concern- 
ments of our salvation ; for we are not to think, that the one 
of these scriptures doth |exantlate the other, and make it 
lose its force and signify nothing; this being a word given 
to men in mortal flesh, this divine word that we have in 
this book, we must know that it concerns men, and is to be 



applied to them in accoraraodation to the state in which 
they are; and in reference whereun to it is written. And, 
therefore, the state of none is so desperate as theirs, who, in 
reference to the affairs of their salvation, have neither hope 
nor fear; as they that mind it not, have neither the one, nor 
the other. 

And, because of the weight and mighty importance of 
this thing, I shall insist upon it ; and press this a little, be- 
fore I go further, by some considerations. As, 

1. That to be unconcerned about the affairs of our salva- 
tion, is continually to stifle a most natural principle; we 
have no principle, no notion, that is more natural to us, 
than that we have something about us that cannot die, 
that is made for eternity, and for another state after this. 
I cannot now stand to prove to you the mortality of the 
soul ; my subject doth not lead me to it : but it is that we 
all profess to believe, and w^hich we pretend to believe of 
ourselves, unless we could disprove it and plainly evince 
the contrary ; and, I would fain know how any man would 
go about to disprove that he is a creature made for another 
state after this. How will he prove himself to be nothing 
but a mortal creature ? How will he prove, that let him be 
never so like a beast, he shall die like a beast too ? How 
will he prove that ? And that the ultimate end, which man 
was made for, is attainable in this earthly state ? How will 
any man go about to prove this ? If he would prove him- 
self a beast, the evidence of things will repugn, and fly in 
his face. It is only not thinking that makes men adven- 
turous in a matter of this import. Oh ! how dismal a thing 
is it, when, instead of the hope of salvation, all that a man 
hath to relieve himself is, the hope of annihilation, a hope 
of his running into nothing ; that instead of blessedness, he 
hath no other hope, but only of no being ? 

But consider (I say) that by this, here is a continual 
stifling of a most deeply natural principle; for there is no 
man that would fain abolish the thoughts of that immortal 
nature he hath about him ; but still they will recoil upon 
him. This spirit that God put into man by his own inspi- 
ration, carries with it a secret consciousness of its owm im- 
mortalitj'^ ; and there can be no disbelief hereof, or opinion 
of the contrary, that is not conjoined with a great fortnido 
opposite, a certain misgiving and fear that it will at last 
prove otherwise ; but, in the meantime to own such a prin- 
ciple as that, (as among us it is generally owned,) and yet 
to have the habitual temper of a man's soul be directly op- 

5ER. XXII.) Soul Jieglect, degrading to our nature. 307 

posite thereunto ; to wit, in an unconceinment what shall, 
and may hecome of him, in an everlasting state ; this is the 
most intolerable thing that we can suppose the human na- 
ture liable to. A most unsufFerable absurdity, that I should 
have such a fixed apprehension and sentiment about me 
that I know not how to get rid of, and yet the habitual 
frame of my mind, and the whole course of ray practice, 
run directly contrary to it. And then, 

2. As unconcernedness about our salvation doth oppose 
this principle in the very nature of man, (than which none 
is more deeply fundamental ;) so it doth reproach the dig- 
nity of the human nature, as well as oppose the light of it. 
It reproacheth the dignity and honour of the human nature. 
-They are continually throwing contempt upon their own 
nature, that live unconcernedly about their future state 
and eternal salvation. If we would but consider this mat- 
ter seriously, who is there that would not be ashamed to 
have this written in his forehead, I do not care what becomes 
of my soul to all eternity ? Who would not be ashamed to 
carry that character visible to every man ? To proclaim 
himself one that thinks he is of no greater or nobler allay 
in the creation of God, than a brute creature ? Whence is 
there a regret to avow and own such a principle, but only 
that we think it to be ignominious? If there be not these 
explicit thoughts, there is such a secret sense, that it would 
be an ignominious thing, a reproachful thing. 

But how unaccountable is this, that a man should not be 
ashamed of the thing, and 3'et he is ashamed of the pro- 
fession of it ? Men are not ashamed of the thing ; to wit, 
to be careless of, and unconcerned about, their own souls, 
and their eternal salvation ; they go from day to day with- 
out any suitable regret within themselves for their own 
carelessness and negligence, and yet they would be 
ashamed to avow an unconcernedness to all the world. 
There is no rational account to be given, why men should 
be ashamed of the profession of such a thing, and yet not 
be ashamed of the thing itself. To go every day from 
morning to night, without any care, thought, or concern, 
what shall become of my soul, as to eternal salvation here- 
after; never to have the soul smite them about this thing, 
from day to day, and from week to week ; and be ashamed, 
to feel a loathness in their own minds, to avow infidelity, 
and profess mere brutality, that I am nothing but a mere 
brute animal; how unaccountable is this ? 

Indeed, the great iniquity in this matter is tliis : that 

X 2 


men do not more allow themselves to study and contem- 
plate themselves ; that they do not labour to have more 
reverential thoughts even of the very nature of man ; I 
mean the primitive nature of man. There is nothing in- 
deed more despicable and hateful than corrupt and vicious 
nature. That precept of that noted heathen, that we reve- 
rence ourselves and our own nature, it needs inculcation. 
And, as to this very particular thing of hope towards God, 
(with which unconcernedness about our salvation and fu- 
ture felicity it is plain cannot consist,) there have been higher 
and more raised thoughts about it, and about the nature of 
man, in reference hereunto, with some from whom, one 
would little expect it, than is usual among Christians them- 
selves. I cannot but reflect again and again upon that of 
Philo the Jew, who tells us, that hope towards God is that 
which doth most properly belong to the nature of man : so, 
that (as he speaks,)(theeMe/p?sf,)he that hath this hope easiest 
and most familiar to him, is only to be counted a man ; 
but the (dyselpist,) he that finds an aversion m him to such 
actings of hope towards God, is scarcely to be counted a 
man ; hardly to be looked upon as one that is partaker of a 
rational nature; so high was the notion of human nature 
laid with some such in those days. But now, where there is 
nothing else but a daily stupid unconcernedness in men 
about the affairs of their souls, and their everlasting state, 
there is even among such (though they bear the name of 
Christians) such a contempt of themselves and such an in- 
dignity done to the nature of man, as many that have not 
been Christians would have been ashamed of. And, 

3. Such an unconcernedness about our salvation, it is a 
continual disobedience to a most natural divine law. We 
ought to account, that where no other law than that of our 
own natures is, that yet such do live properly under the ob- 
ligation of a law; for I beseech you consider, do you think 
that God is not governor of the rest of the world, as well 
as he is of Christendom ? And how doth he govern reason- 
able creatures without a law ? " They that have not a 
written law, are a law to themselves," Rom. ii. 14, 15. And 
Heathens tell us of a nata and a scripta lex, and where 
there is not a scripta there is a nata: a law that is born 
with us, a law written in our hearts, are expressions com- 
mon to Cicero, and to the Apostle Paul ; and therefore 
light about this matter in some degree hath been common 
to men. There is no more deeply natural law upon men, 
-than that of self-preservation; and if the soul of man be 

SER. xxii.) Soul neglect, provokiug to God. 309 

the man, or the chief of man, the principal tiling in man, 
do you think it doth not lie under the obligation of a 
law to preserve itself, to endeavour to save itself, to keep 
itself, as far as it can, from being lost and miserable to 
eternity, since it is capable of eternity ? And, therefore 

4. That God cannot but be highly provoked, when the 
authority of this law, of which he hath impressed on the 
very soul of man and wrought into his nature, is conti- 
nually violated. Consider it, for he cannot but be highly 
provoked with it; " The wrath of God is revealed from hea- 
ven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, 
who hold the truth in unrighteousness ;" where the apostle's 
discourse is about natural truth, about those dictates of 
truth that lie naturally and universally in the minds of 
men; as the notions concerning God do, that he instanceth 
in, in what immediately followeth ; and concerning right 
and wrong, even unto men ; with which is contempered the 
obligations that lie upon every man in reference to himself; 
because the duty we owe to other men is measured by that 
which we owe to ourselves, the whole law being compre- 
hended in love. And that comprehensive principle being 
thus given by our Lord himself, to wit, " We are to love 
the Lord our God, with all our hearts, souls, minds, and 
might; and to love our neighbours as ourselves:" which 
therefore involves, firstly, and in the highest place, this 
care for ourselves. And since in the common acknowledg- 
ment of all, our souls are our most principal and chief selves, 
a love to our souls, and care for them, must needs be one 
of the great principles of natural truth; for the violation 
whereof the wrath of God is revealed ; to wit, against the 
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold this 
truth in unrighteousness. To have such truths as these, 
always lying in my mind and soul, and continually to run 
counter to them, how provoking is it? 

When I consider the law of nature as God's law, and 
that by which he governs that part of the world which 
hath no other law, and that the obligation thereof is perpe- 
tual and eternaf, and can cease no where; to be guilty of 
continual violations of this, is to tear the foundations of the 
divine government. And therefore it is not strange that 
wrath should be revealed from heaven against men, upon 
such an account; that they hold such truths in unrighteous- 
ness, and stifle and counteract it, through the whole of their 
course, from day to day. And to bring this down to our 

X 5 


own particular cases and concernments : to wit, if a man 
arise in tiie morning, and all his care for the following day 
is, what shall I eat, and what shall I drink, and what shall [ 
put on, and how shall I make a gainful bargain for this 
world, to advance my estate, and the like? and no propor- 
tionaide care or concernment is taken for his soul, or its 
salvation, all the day. This (I say) is to live in a continual 
violation of one of the most deeply fundamental laws of 
his own nature, for which the wrath of God is provoked 
and revealed against men, for such ungodliness. There 
doth not need a gospel to bring such men under a doom, 
but it doth bring them under a heavier doom, being super- 
added. That gospel wherein life and immortality are 
brought to light, to wit, into a closer and brighter light ; 
that is, whereas the light of the Pagan Gentile world is but 
a twilight, a dubious light, in comparison of that which we 
have in the gospel, concerning the future eternal states of 
men ; therefore this super-addition must heightens men's 
doom. And then again, 

5. This is to be considered too, That in such an uncon- 
cernedness about our salvation, we do not only offend 
against the authority of the divine law; but against the 
goodness and kindness of it, which is an unspeakably higher 
and more aggravated offence. Oh ! that this might but 
enter into our souls to consider how much there is of good 
will towards men in laying upon them the obligation of 
such a law, which as it was first written in our own nature, 
so it is over and over, and more expressly written again in 
his word! " Strive to enter in at the strait gate." " Work 
out your own salvation with fear and trembling." " Seek 
first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." A law 
in various forms and expressions so often repeated. Oh ! 
that it might be considered, how much there is of kindness 
and benignity in it towards them, whom it doth so much 
concern ! How much there is of good will and favourable 
propensions expressed, when the primary design of the 
divine law is to bring us to be happy creatures; that we 
should have laws laid upon us to be happy. This is the 
purport of the whole, as if the merciful lawgiver should 
but speak this sense, (as indeed he hath spoken in his 
word ; often and often, over and over, most fully,) Oh ! 
be kind to yourselves ! do not give up yourselves to perish. 
You have intelligent, immortal spirits about you, that are 
capable of the same felicity with angels, those glorious 
<5reatures above. Do not abandon th^se spirits of yours unto 

SER. XXII.) fVe are not our own. 311 

remediless ruin, in a total neglect and unconccrnedness 
about the salvation of your souls ! do not plunge and sink 
them into an endless, and incurable misery ! 

We are taught to account, that the very patience that 
God doth exercise towards men hath this kind design with 
it, that they might be saved. See his expostulations with 
sinners about this: " Despiseth thou the riches of his good- 
ness, and forbearance, and long suffering ? not knowing 
that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance : but 
after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasures! up 
to thyself wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation 
of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every 
man according to his works ?" Rom. ii. 4, 5. The patience 
of God is intimated to have generally that aptitude in itself 
to induce men to consider and take up thoughts of return- 
ing; and most expressly, when the gospel commenteth 
upon it, and tells men of its design. Why was not thy care- 
less soul, that heard the gospel the last Lord's day, cut off 
before this Lord's day f Why ? the patience of God is 
leading it to repentance: so we are directly instructed to 
interpret. '' My brethren, (saith that other Apostle,) count 
the long suffering of God salvation." 2 Peter iii. 15. Do 
you put that construction and sense upon it? Make that 
interpretation to yourselves. Why am I spared? I have 
been careless of God and my own soul so long, year after 
year, why am I spared ? The Apostle doth teach you to 
reckon, and make an estimate, why it is, what you are to 
count it is for ; " Count that the long suffering of the Lord 
is salvation ;" 2 Peter iii. 15. to wit, that he is designing 
your salvation in all this indulgence, and sparing mercy, 
that he exerciseth towards you. And it is highly aggra- 
vated guilt, when there is not only a continual resistance of 
the authority, but an offending constantly against the kind- 
ness of a divine constitution. And, 

6. You ought to consider. You are nor your own. And 
though every one is obliged to intend, with the greatest 
earnestness, the salvation of his own soul, yet he is not to 
do it principally and supremely as his own; for God's in- 
terest is higher, and more principal in us, than ours can be 
in ourselves. And therefore, whereas we have a trust in- 
cumbent upon us from God, about ourselves, and the affairs 
of our own souls, he hath required us (though he be our 
supreme keeper) to keep ourselves, to keep our own hearts 
with all diligence. Though our Lord Jesus Christ be our 
supreme Saviour, our great Saviour by office, yet we are 

X 4 


required to save ourselves. Though God in Clirist is our 
supreme Ruler, yet we are told too, that *' he that hath 
not rule over his own spirit, is as a city broken down, and 
without walls." We have, by divine charge and command, 
a care incumbent upon us about our own selves, about our 
own souls ; but he is our owner, we are not our own 

It is a most horrid thing, when men will not be brought 
to know their owner. " The ox knoweth his owner." Isa. i. 
3. And what? Will not man know his owner? Will not 
these reasonable intelligent souls of ours know their owner, 
to whom they belong, who he is that styles himself the God 
of spirits, even of the spirits of all flesh ? So that our having 
spirits in flesh, embodied spirits, is no diminution to his 
interest in us, and detracts nothing of it. When these 
spirits of ours are sunk into flesh, yet he is the God of the 
spirits of all flesh : they are his, he is the God of them. 
Then are we to consider besides, that inferior, secondary, 
subordinate interest that we have in ourselves, and our own 
souls ; we are (I say) to consider God's superior interest in 
them, whose creatures we are. Then they who live in a 
total neglect and unconcernedness about tlie salvation of 
their souls, what answer will they be able to make to the 
most high God, when he comes to demand of them ; 
" What have you done with my creature that I put under 
your care, in so great a measure? 1 trusted thee with the 
keeping and care of a soul, an immortal soul, an intelligent 
spiritual being, stamped with my own natural image. I 
gave thee a soul capable of loving me, capable of being 
finally happy in rne, capable of being, throughout an eter- 
nity, employed in the adoration and love of the eternal 
God. I gave thee such a soul, what hast thou done with 
it? What! Hast thou made that soul all the time it dwelt 
in that body, only a drudge to vanity, only to serve as a 
slave to sensual and brutish inclination ?" 

God was to have eternal honour from those souls of ours, 
by our eternal love and adoration and praises of him, and 
joining with the glorious assembly, the innumerable com- 
pany of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect in 
these exercises. And when the wretched creature comes 
to give an account to God, as he must do ; " Why hast 
thou robbed me of the eternal honour, glory, and praise 
that is due to me from this creature of mine? Why, instead 
of taking that way, by which it might be associated with 
the glorious inhabitants in heaven, hast thou taken that 

sfc.R. XXII.) Soul neglecl, must he accounted for. 813 

way by which it must come to herd itself with devils, and go 
to be employed an eternity, in cursing and blaspheming its 
Maker ? Why hast thou thus used a soul which I gave tliee 
who am the Father of spirits? Was that soul of thine' 
while it dwelt in a body of flesh, capable of nothing but 
gratifying and pleasing brutish desires? capable of no 
higher thoughts than what are suitable to the body, to eat 
and drink, and be clotiied with ? Was it capable of no 
thoughts of God? No thought of a future felicity? Why 
hath that soul been so injuriously, so abusively treated? I 
must have an account of my own creature, that should have 
honoured me, by the eternal love and fruition of me." 

Sure these considerations should awaken us a little to 
that which I first recommended to you by way of direction, 
that we may, through the grace of God, agree in a resolu- 
tion, more to mind the concernments of our salvation, than 
we hitherto have. It may be, a great many will think 
themselves very innocent as to this matter, and not appre- 
hend that there needs so much care about their souls, and 
eternal concerns ; but is not that to make our own imagi- 
nations superior to the determinations of God's express 
word ? Doth that look as if he thought such a matter 
could be overcome, when he bids us, (as you have heard,) 
*' Strive (the word signifies, be in agonies) to enter in at 
the strait gate." When any in that but now mentioned 
scripture, have it made as the distinguishing character 
between them that shall finally be saved, and them that 
perish ; that the one sort do, by patient continuance in well 
doing, " seek for glory, honour, and immortality," till they 
actually have eternal life : and the other sort " do not obey 
the truth, but obey unrighteousness," are contentious 
against the truth; and therefore are to expect nothing but 
** indignation, and wrath, tribulation, and anguish," for 

And is it not a very strange thing, that about inferior 
ends, men should think themselves concerned, and obliged 
to use very great diligence; and every man is praised and 
commended among his neighbours, as he bears the charac- 
ter of a diligent man, an industrious man in his business? 
But that in reference to our last end, the universal end, the 
end of ends, that men should allow themselves in an uni- 
versal carelessness and neglect, when every thing is greater 
as it approacheth nearer to the last end. There is a subor- 
dination of ends, but as any end comes nearer to the last, so 
it is greater, and the last, greatest of all. Now that men 


should think it very reasonable to be very careful to get 
estates, to preserve their lives, and live well in the world, 
and yet think it reasonable to be negligent how they shall 
live for ever ; wliat inconsistencies are these ! There wants 
nothing but communing with ourselves, to make us appre- 
hend, and understand this, and to make ourselves uneasy to 
ourselves, till we find a redress. And this word would be 
an everlasting witness against us, if we should not depart 
now with a resolution (in dependance on the grace of God) 
more to mind the concernments of our salvation than ever 
we have done. 



We are saved by hope. 

1 SHALL now proceed in giving you further directions for 
the getting this noble principle cultivated and improved. 
And to that end, in the next place. 

Direction 2. We should labour to extend our hope to its 
highest and utmost object, its supreme and ultimate object. 
According as we stretch it further, it works more, and it 
becomes so much the more a lively and potent thing in us. 
And do I need to tell what its supreme and ultimate object 
is ? Our best good must be our highest hope, and you can 
be in no doubt what that is. " And now (Lord) what wait 
I for? my hope is in thee." Psalm xxxix. 7- " Why art 
thou cast down, oh ! my soul, why art thou disquieted within 
me? Hope thou in God." Psalm xlii. 5, 11. and xliii. 5. 
He must be to us, in respect of our hope, (as in respect of 
our choice, and love, and delight,) our only one. " Whom 
have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth I 
desire besides thee." Psalm Ixxiii. 9.5. This is plain and 
out of question, God is to be our highest hope. 

But concerning this, we are to note further. That it is 
God, as he is, most perfectly to be enjoyed in the most 
perfect state, that is to be the object of our hope: some 

* Preached September 30, 1691. 

5EII. xxiil.) The adoption vf Grace. 015 

shadow of which truth was in the mind of that noted philo- 
sopher, when he speaks of felicity, as that whicii is to be 
enjoyed in the most perfect state of life. But it is that 
which we are most deeply to consider, when we design God 
for the great object of our hope. It must be as he is to be 
enjoyed most perfectly, to wit, in the best and most perfect 
state. It is plain that that state is here referred to in this 
context, and in the text itself, if you will judge its reference 
by the context. Look to the words that do immediately 
precede; see whither their aspirings do aim and tend. " We 
who have received the first fruits of the Spirit, groan within 
ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption 
of our bodies ; for we are saved by hope." The hope of the 
final felicity and blessedness of that state, when there should 
be a perfect redemption of the body. It is an hope of fe- 
licity, which will be in its perfection, after being raised 
from the dead. 

And this the Apostle, by another significant name, calls 
the adoption ; to wit, the solemn manifestation of the sons 
of God, as was the expression a little above, and as is in- 
timated in another place. " Now we are the sons of God, 
but it doth not yet appear what we shall be." 1 John iii. 
1. Our sonship, and the glory and dignity of our 
adopted state, is not yet displayed or discovered what it is ; 
but it shall be; and the time is coming when it shall : so 
that the like thing is intimated here, as did obtain among 
the Romans, to wit, that adoptions were with them twofold. 
There was a private adoption that was preparatory, and 
leading to a following public one. Such an one doth 
first in private pitch upon such a person as he adopts for 
his own son, and afterwards there is a public notification 
thereof inforo; here it was declared with public solemnity. 
And it is in this latter sense, and in accommodation there- 
unto, that this perfect state of the sons of God is called 
the adoption. 

And as we are to take heed lest any temporary or ter- 
rene thing should be designed by us, as the main and ter- 
minative object of our hope; so that that which is in its 
kind, higher and better, and most noble and excellent, we 
must take heed lest itself be made the final term of our 
hope, in any state of imperfection, that things even of that 
kind do yet lie under. " If in this life only we have hope 
in Christ, we are miserable creatures," 1 Cor. xv. 19. Our 
hope must shoot forward into another state, we must cast 


anchor into that which is within tlie vail. Heb. vi. I9. 
Even this anchor of liope. And again. 

Direction 3. We must labour to have our minds well 
informed concerning that state which our hope is finally 
to terminate upon ; not to content ourselves with a con- 
fused general idea of some great felicity hereafter, in ano- 
ther world, and after this life; but we must labour, as dis- 
tinctly as we can, to apprehend what it is, and wherein it 
consists and lies ; for our hope will be in its operations 
proportionably lively and vigorous, as our apprehensions 
concerning its objects are distinct and clear; our souls 
cannot be attracted, and drawn, and enlivened, and raised, 
by obscure and shadowy apprehensions only of that which 
we make its final object. And we are not in greater dan- 
ger of wronging ourselves in any thing more than here, 
and about tliis matter. 

The generality of men, the generality of them that live 
under the gospel, and that call themselves Christians ; oh, 
how little is understood among them of the truly Chris- 
tian hope ! The apostle prayetli for his Christian Ephe- 
sians, that they might know the hope of their calhng;- 
that they might understand what they are to hope for, 
■what they are called to, the prize of the high calling of 
God in Christ Jesus, that that might be understood. Men 
of carnal minds, they are apt accordingly to form the no- 
tion of all things, and where there is yet a prevailing car- 
nality, even under the gospel men do take their measures 
of future felicity and misery, according to what notions 
they have of perfect good and evil ; and their notions of 
present good and evil they are taken only from the dic- 
tates of sense. Good and evil are estimated by us accord- 
ing to their accommodations or dis-accommodations to 
flesh and sense ; that is taken for good which is grateful to 
carnal sense ; and that for evil that is ungrateful to it. And 
no higher are they wont to go ; but what would be good or 
evil to an intelligent immortal mind and spirit, herein they 
little concern themselves for the most part. 

And hence are the notions too common even among 
Christians of Mahometan Paradises hereafter, or of Pa- 
ganish Elysiums ; indeed usually they go no further, when 
they are forming their notions of what is meant by salva- 
tion, than only to think of the privitive part, and by that 
privitive part, they mean only being freed from that which 
they think would be tormenting to the flesh ; and because 

SER. XXIII.) The it ing of future punishment. 317 

the scripture doth make use of such phrases and forms of 
speech for our help, therefore are we wont to abuse them 
to our hurt, and to the depraving and narrowing of our 
minds and understandings touching these things; all the 
salvation that the most concern themselves about is, to be 
freed from fire and brimstone, that they think will torment 
the flesh ; and the apprehension is dreadful, when they are 
told of such a state of torment as eternal and everlasting; 
but how much the more the mind and spirit of a man is a 
greater, and nobler, and more excellent thing than a little 
animated clay that he carries about with him, so much the 
more must the good and evil of the future slate, which is 
accommodate to the mind and spirit, be greater and higher 
than any thing that flesh is capable of, in point either of 
enjoyment or suft'ering. 

And it ought to be considered, that, whereas the happi- 
ness of an intelligent creature can only be in the fruition 
of God; 1 say it ought deeply to be considered, what it 
is to all eternity, to lose this enjoyment, and to be cut off 
from him : and this is the greatest of your salvation, to be 
saved from that misery which must of all things be most 
tormenting to an intelligent mind and spirit ; to wit, I am 
cut ott' everlastingly from the enjoyment of that highest 
and best good whereof 1 was capable ; 1 was capable of it, 
and have lost it. 

Here is the sting and the fire of hell, its hottest fervour, 
and by this it is, that the soul must be the everlasting tor- 
mentor itself. This is it that gives the ground for those 
(morsus) bitings, wounds, and gnawings of the worm that 
never dies. Oh, that 1 should debase a mind, a spirit ; so no- 
ble a thing, so excellent a thing; to a capacity only of con- 
verse with earthly things, and thereby to lose for ever the 
enjoyment of the blessed God, as having lost my capacity 
for it, stifled it myself, and therewith lost my interest in 
it: and so as that thereupon divine justice might do an 
equal thing, and a becoming thing, and that God might do 
like himself, as became himself; 1 should therefore hear 
from him, " Depart from me, accursed, into everlasting fire, 
prepared for the devil and his angels ;" Go, accursed crea- 
ture, into the state which thou choosest. 

A salvation from such misery as this, you must labour 
distinctly to understand, to be the great object of your 
hope. 1 hope through the grace of God I shall be saved 
from this, from ever having things brought to this sad and 
forlorn pass with inc. And so by salvation, though it 


sound privative, yet is chiefly meant that which is most 
highly positive ; and lest we should mistake sometimes, we 
find this positive added in express terms, " salvation by 
Christ Jesus^ with eternal glory." 2 Tim. ii. 10. 

This (I say) we must labour to understand distinctly, that 
so our hope may operate strongly and vigorously, as it will 
according to the apprehension that we have of the object of 
it ; when this comes to be distinctly understood, (inasmuch 
as the way of the Spirit's working upon the minds and souls 
of men is suitable to their own intelligent and rational na- 
ture ;) the life and vigour that Spirit doth exert, and put 
forth in this way upon the souls of men, it is so much the 
higher, and so much the more efficacious, by how much the 
apprehensions are clearer about the things in which I hope, 
or for which 1 hope. 

When once this is understood, then will the soul say, (if 
once it be reduced to a capacity of acting like itself; to 
wit, like an intelligent thing,) What ? Shall I for a trifle 
lose so great an hope ? Then the gospel looks big, and ap- 
pears great in our view, and what ? Shall I lose all this ? 
All this glory, all this felicity, and all that fulness of joy 
that is to be eternal, for a trifle ? for the gratifying my own 
lust, or pleasing my own fancy, or the fancy of a friend, as 
he calls himself? But he is, indeed, my greatest enemy, as 
I am in truth the greatest enemy to myself, while 1 am 
apt to be imposed upon by such delusive appearances and 
semblances of things, against my own good and interest. 
Shall I for the pleasure of a debauch in company, as vain 
as r can be, ruin so great an hope as this ? " He that hath 
this hope in him purifies himself as God is pure." But 
then also, 

Direction 4. You must take this further direction, to 
wit, when you have got the notion in any measure compe- 
tently clear, concerning the state of salvation, the felicity 
and glory of the future state, then labour most firmly and 
stedfastly to believe it. You must have a right notion of 
it first, else you believe you know not what. • But let me 
have never so distinct a notion of the best and most de- 
lectable state that can be thought of, it never affects me, 
nor can rationally, unless I believe it to be a reality. The 
most pleasing ideas cannot draw forth rational endeavours, 
unless I be possessed with the apprehension, that it is a 
real attainable good that I am to act for. 

Therefore, to that purpose, consider, I pray you, what 
the apostle gives us of the notion of that faith which is to 

S1ER. XXIII.) The iiecemty of Faith. 319 

be indeed immediately fundamental of our hope, Heb.xi. 1. 
JSow faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evi- 
dence of things not seen ; if one have never so clear a no- 
tion of the most delectable state that it is possible for any 
one to form and conceive in his own mind, and he doth not 
look upon this as substantial, as an actual substance, it cannot 
affect him, it cannot attract him, and draw forth the strength 
and vigour of his soul in a pursuit after it : therefore, here the 
work of faith comes in, and that is to substantiate, to be to us 
the very substance of that which we are to hope for, and to be 
the evidence of that which yet we do not see; and how 
could faith do this ? Why truly even by that which is in- 
trinsical and natural to it; reliance upon his testimony 
whom we believe. Human faith is a reliance upon an hu- 
man testimony ; divine faith is a reliance on a divine tes- 
timony. I take the word of God about the truth of that I 
have not seen with my own eyes ; and his word represent- 
ing to me a lovely, pleasant, amiable object hereafter, per- 
fectly to be enjoyed; believing the revelation to be true, 
1 thereupon hope for the thing revealed. 

As suppose an overture were made to any of you of mak- 
ing a purchase of an estate in lands where you have not 
been, or which you do not know ; it may be you may have 
some friend or other that hath been there, and that can 
give a true and distinct description, and tell you how all 
things lie ; he tells you how very commodious and plea- 
sant a seat there is, or may easily he had ; why according 
as you believe, or disbelieve this man's report, this testi- 
mony of his, so is your hope of doing well, and living hap- 
pily in such a place, lively or not lively, vivid or faint 
and languid ; according (1 say) as you believe him, or do 
not believe him, you having not seen the thing with your 
own eyes. 

This is the case here, God hath told us how it is above, 
in that state where we have not been, what is to be enjoy- 
ed there, what our employments are to be, what our com- 
pany, and what our state every way. Saith the considering 
soul, It is true, I have not been in the third heavens, I do 
not know the order of things there by any experience of 
ray own; but I believe in him that hath told me this; I 
know he can have no design to deceive me ; what can he 
get by imposing on a worm ? When he hath made such a 
discovery and sworn to it; As I live, so and so it is, and so 
it shall be. By these two immutable things 1 apprehend it 
to be impossible for God to lie : therefore here is strong 


consolation for them to fly to for refuge, who have this 
hope set before them. Heb, vi. 18, 19, 20. 

But how much another thing is that faith which thus re- 
lies upon, and resolves itself into the authority of the di- 
vine word, over-awing the soul into an entire acquiescence 
in the truth of it, and so as to still and silence all abmur- 
murations and mutterings to the contrary : I dare not think 
otherwise but that thus it is. How much more (1 say) ano- 
ther thing is this faith which so substantiates its object 
in this way and method, from that which vulgarly goes 
under the name of faith among us ? The common opinion 
that men have, that there is a world to come, and so and 
so men may enjoy, or suffer in that other world, that is a 
mere traditional belief of these things, without ever con- 
sidering the true and proper grounds why we admit any 
such belief into our minds and hearts at all; but we believe, 
because such and such have so told us. It is the common 
belief, all the people of our countr}'^ were of this mind, all 
our forefathers were of this mind ; but God, and the au- 
thority of his revelation comes not into the case, never 
falls into consideration at all. 

And this faith as it is groundless, so it is fruitless ; for 
the ground of faith, and the efficacy of it, measure one ano- 
ther ; faith is always proportionably efficacious as it is 
grounded well and strongly; that which depends upon no- 
thing doth nothing, eflfects nothing, it is very plain, that 
for this common faith which men have about a future 
state, and which is nothing else but opinion, mere opinion, 
and nothing more ; it effects nothing, operates nothing, it 
leaves men's hearts the same; and accordingly the course 
of their practice is the same too, as if they were of quite a 
contrary belief. What a strange faith is that which, instead 
of power and efficacy, for the forming of the heart and go- 
verning the life, is just the same thing with infidelity, not 
distinguishable from infidelity ; but in point of efficacy, 
faith and infidelity are the same ? This man's heart is as 
terrene as it would have been if he had been of no such be- 
lief, or of a quite contrary belief : and his practice as loose 
and irregular, having as little tendency in it towards the 
attainment of such a blessed state as he pretends to be- 

Pagans have seemed to have higher thought of faith 
than we have. Cicero tells us that among them (the Ro- 
mans) there were shrines and temples dedicated to faith, 
and hope, as being certain tokens that God did dwell in 

SER. xxiii.) Desire earnestly Saltation. 321 

those minds where these are : so he speaks of them ; where- 
upon they dedicated temples to them. Wlien in those minds 
faith and hope did dwell_, they looked upon these as certain 
evidences that (Jod did dwell in those minds. But 1 be- 
seech you, what argument is there to be taken from the 
faith and hope of these great futurities tbat are commonly 
pretended to among us, that God dwells in these minds ? 
What evidence is there of an in-dwelling Deity, who raised 
these men, so sublime, so full of heaven, so full of holy 
aspirings ? What is there like this, as the fruit of that faith 
and hope which are talked of, and pretended to amongst 
us ? And then. 

Direction 5. Take this direction, see that when you un- 
derstand and do believe what the word of God informs us 
of, concerning the state of salvation, that is to be the final 
object of our hope, see (I say) that you do. seriously desire 
it; that it is that which the inclination of our minds car- 
ries us to, so as earnestly to long for and covet it. Oh, 
that 1 were there ! Oh, that I were possessed of the felici- 
ties and glories of that state ! Otherwise, if you talk of hope 
of such a state, for which you do not find you have any real 
lively desires in your souls; you impose an impossible task 
upon yourselves and a contradiction. It is a perfect con- 
tradiction to hope for that whicb we do not desire, or to 
which the temper of our mind agrees not. If there be not 
an agreeableness in the frame of the heart and spirit unto 
such a state understood and believed, it can be no object ot 
our hope. I may desire many things that I do not hope 
for, but I cannot hope for any thing that I do not desire ; 
for hope always involves desire, though desire doth not al- 
ways involve hope in it. There may be despairing desires, 
but hope hath for its object a future good, the same that 
desire hath; only hope doth superadd something to its ob- 
ject; (though that alters not the case as to this ;) to wit, an 
apprehended difficulty, an arduousness as to the thing ho- 
ped for, otherwise desire and hope would be all one. 

And about this it concerns us to deal very seriously and 
closely with ourselves, when we speak of hope as that 
mighty principle, which is to have influence towards salva- 
tion, by the influence whereof we are to be saved, (and are 
lost if that influence fail, and continue not ;) we are to con- 
sider what we are to aim at, when we are to aim at the 
getting our souls possessed with such an hope; we must get 
them made suitable to the state hoped for ; that we may 
be capable of desiring it; that our souls may fall in with 



it ; that whereas that state commence that the appearance 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, we may be of those that love his 
appearing upon that account. And whereas it is the hope 
of a future fehcity, by the power whereof grace teacheth 
men effectually to " deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, 
and to live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this pre- 
sent world ;" that hope may be looked on by us as a bles- 
sed hope, *' looking for the blessed hope, and glorious ap- 
pearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ," 
the very thought whereof (for tliere hope is taken objec- 
tively) is reviving to our souls, makes our hearts spring and 
leap in us. If you do not desire the thing hoped for, it 
can never be a blessed hope to you ; you cannot look upon it 
as such : one thought of that hope, that hope but thought of, 
doth even bless my soul, doth make it live, diffuselh a vital 
influence through it. 

That which is inconsistent with this is a terrene frame 
that continually carries us downward, a minding earthly 
things, that upon the account whereof the apostle speaks 
with tears concerning many of those Philippian Christians, 
to whom he writes. '^ 1 have told you of them,(saith he,) and 
I now tell you weeping, they are enemies to the cross of 
Christ ;" that is, to the very design of his dying, vphich was 
to establish an eternal kingdom, a kingdom that is not of 
this world; they are enemies to his very cross; why, what 
doth characterize them as such ? Their minding earthly 
things. The design of his dying runs into eternity, into 
heaven; our conversation is in heaven, as the next words 
speak ; but these men are all for this earth, nothing else 
is pleasing and grateful to them. If you give them hopes 
of great honour, and dignities, and riches, in this world, 
you take them by the heart ; but tell them of the felicity of 
another w^orld, you do but speak to them the words of a 
dream, they are mere shadows you present to their imagi- 
nations, things which they affect not, in which they feel no 
substance; there is nothing grateful to them in these 

Always carry this about with you, that it is a most per- 
fect mockery to talk of hope of that which you desire not. 
" I desire (saith the apostle) to be dissolved and to be with 
Christ :" this is their strain who are under the power of the 
truly Christian hope : not as if such actual desires were the 
constant character of a regenerate soul, because there may 
be some accidental interveniencies that may damp that act 
of desire, may interrupt and hinder it ; to wit, they may be in 

siin. XXIII.) Separate 7iot the means and end. 323 

doubt about the state of their case God-wards, Therefore, 
they cannot be positive in desiring to be unclothed and 
dissolved; but if the competition be between the felicity 
of the future state, and the felicity of the present state ; and 
their no desire doth proceed from the greater love that 
they have to this world, than they have to God, and to 
heaven, and the purity, and sinlessness, and blessedness of 
the future state ; this is a mortal character ; and concern- 
ing such we can pronounce nothing but that ''they are 
enemies to the cross of Christ," the design of his dying, as 
if he died for men only, to procure for them an earthly fe- 
licity ; as if his dying were only to terminate upon an 
earthly happy state, than which a greater hostility to the 
cross of Christ, and against the design of his dying, cannot 
be. And again. 

Direction 6. Take this further direction; to wit, when 
you have that object before you, in its clear and distinct 
state, which is to be the final object of your hope, never 
hope for that abstractly, and separately by itself, so as to 
disjoin in j^our hope the end, from the necessary means to 
that end, salvation, the state of the saved ; here is the final 
object of hope; but then we are told by the apostle, of 
things that do *' accompany salvation." Heb. vi.9- Never 
hope for salvation abstractly, and apart from the things 
that do accompany it, and because that is to be considered 
as the final object of your hope, the things that are inter- 
mediate to it, are to be hoped for too ; for there can be no 
connection besides, between the end and the means ; but 
that connection lies in the aptitude such means have to 
this end, and the certainty of the consecution of this end, 
upon the use of such means. You are told of several things 
in scripture that have certain connection with salvation, 
so that without them it cannot be; with them it cannot 
but be. As to give you only the scripture terms of the 
several things, that it doth connect with salvation as inse- 
parable from it, without explaining the things to you : as 
repentance, it connects with it ; *' Except ye repent, 3'e shall 
all likewise perish ;" Luke xviii. 5. ye shall not be saved. 
" Repent, that your sins may be blotted out." Acts iii. 19. 
by it you shall be saved. — Faith; God so loved the world, 
that " he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever be- 
lieveth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
John iii. 18. " He that believeth not is condemned already, 
and the wrath of God abideth on him." John iii. 3, 5. — 
Regeneration, without it there is no entering into the 

Y 2 


kingdom of God, there is no seeing of it ; but if men be 
regenerate, they are the children of God ; and if they are 
children, then heirs, " heirs of God, and joint heirs with 
Jesus Christ, that, suffering with him, tliey may be glo- 
rified together." Rom. viii. 17. — Obedience; Christ will be 
author of salvation to them that obey him, Heb. v. 9. 
" And will come in flaming fire to take vengeance on them 
that know him not, nor obey his gospel." 2 Thess. i. 8. 
These are the plainest connections that can be in the world, 
nothing can be more plain; so sanctification which falls in 
with many of the forementioned things : " We give thanks 
to God for you, that he hath chosea you unto salvation 
through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." 
2 Thess. ii. 13. " Without holiness no man shall see the 
Lord." Heb. xii. 14. 

This is tlie direction then, that at present, I Avould leave 
with you ; never be so vain as to hope for the end apart 
from these things, God having made a necessary connec- 
tion between it and them, as means thereunto, with which 
it shall certainly be attained, and without which, it cannot. 
There are means indeed, that are foreign and external, (as di- 
vines are wont do distinguish them from these,) which have 
no certain connection with the end, as these have ; but for 
those which have so certain a connection with it, it is to 
murder your own hope, to hope for the end without re- 
garding the means ; to hope 1 shall be saved, whether I 
repent or no, believe or no, turn to God or no, be regene- 
rate or no, be sanctified or no, whether I obey, or disobey. 
This is to hope without, and to hope against it; and it is 
the greatest foolery in the world, for a man to hope against 
God's word, for that which depends wholly on his plea- 
sure, whose v/ord it is. Who can save me if he do not ? 
Who can bring me heaven if he do not ? So that to hope 
in this case, not only without his word, but against it; no 
greater madness than this is conceivable, or can be, among 

siiR. XXIV.) Studtf what is necessary to Salvation, 325 


ROMANS, Vlll. 24. 

We are saved hy Hope. 

Direction 7. I shall now go on with some further di- 
rections, and in the next place, take this. 

That such need to make it much their business te under- 
stand aright the nature of those things which are so ab- 
solutely necessary to being saved ; to wit, not only to 
know that such and such things, so and so called, are requi- 
site; or to understand the names of such as are requisite 
unto salvation, without distinct understanding of the things 
themselves, signified by those names. There is nobody 
that understands any thing of the Christian religion, but hath 
been informed, and will readily assent, that repentance is 
necessary to salvation; that faith is necessary to salvation ; 
that a man if he be not regenerate cannot be saved ; that if 
he be not converted he is not in the state of salvation ; that 
if he do not mortify sin he must die, he must perish, and 
cannot be saved ; that if he do not lead a life of holiness, 
he can never see God, must be excluded his presence for 
ever. Every one that lives under the gospel and under- 
stands the first elements and principles of it, readily assents 
to all these things ; but in the mean time if one do inquire 
what they do understand by the things signified by such 
names, here they are at a loss, and to seek, and give such 
confused and uncertain accounts, or have so indistinct 
apprehensions of them, that they are never the nearer being 
saved for having heard of those names ; but I beseech you, 
w^hat can it signify, if, when God saith, they that do not hc\ 
lieve, his wrath abideth on them ; and he hath " so loved 
the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son, that 
they that believe in him should not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life ;" you do agree to the faith of this that God 
hath said in his word, you say so too ; but in the mean time 
you intend one thing by believing, when God, it is manifest, 
meaneth another. You put the name of faith, the name of 
repentance, the name of conversion, and the name of rege- 

* Preached October 11, 1(501. 
y 3 


neration, upon quite another thing ; What ! will the names 
of these things save any body ? Will any be the nearer sal- 
vation for something miscalled faith, that is not so r Some- 
thing miscalled repentance, something-miscalled regenera- 
tion, that are not so r 

if you would rationally hope for salvation, so as that hope 
should really signify any thing for that end, you must un- 
derstand the real influences and import of such things as 
these, that God hath put as necessary to salvation, and in 
immediate connection with it. That is, you must under- 
stand faith in Christ to be that which brings your souls 
into a vital, living union with him, so as that thereby you 
have him, and have life; such a receptive act as adjoins 
you to him, so as that he thereupon becomes an immedi- 
ate spring of life toyour souls. If you do not understand by re- 
pentance, that mighty turn and change of the whole soul, by 
which, when it was a stranger to God before and alienated 
from him, it is now entirely turned to him, andtherefore it 
is called repentance towards God ; the whole bent of the soul 
being turned about towards God, as its best good, and as 
its sovereign Lord, to whom it was a stranger and rebel 
before : you do not apprehend aright. It is a vain thing 
for us to go about to delude ourselves with names; the 
great thing will be, what will be taken for faith and repent- 
ance, and the rest of the mentioned things, in the judg- 
ment day ; and we may know now, if we will make it our 
business to know, and compare scripture with scripture, one 
thing with another. Those that will yield the necessity of 
regeneration, understand nothing (it may be) by being re- 
generate but being baptized ; when the scripture else- 
where tell us in other words, it signifies our implantation 
into Christ, we are born again, as we are inserted into 
him, and being in him, become new creatures : old things 
being done away, and all things being made new ; such 
things as these, tliat you find in certain immediate connec- 
tion with salvation; you must understand what they are, 
if you will ever think of entertaining hope of salvation, 
for such a purpose as that it shall contribute to your being 
saved. And, 

Direction 8. Take this further direction, if you will ever 
hope to purpose in reference to the business of salvation, 
begin your hope with despair : despair, that you may hope, 
that is, that you may hope to any advantage. There is 
none in whom this hope comes to live, (as it is a living 
hope, that we are speaking of, and that the Spirit of God 

SER. XXIV.) Despair before Hope. 327 

intends,) but there must be a death past upon that «oul, be- 
fore such living hope doth obtain, or hath place in it ; such 
must die, that they may live ; must be slain, that they may 
revive. All false hope must die, they must see themselves 
dead, lost, and perishing, before any such hope can have 
place in them ; but here 1 must be a little more particular, 
and tell such of some things, whereof it is most necessary 
that they do despair. As, first, they must despair of ever 
being saved without those things, which you have already 
heard are necessary to salvation. And then, secondly, 
they must despair of ever being saved, for such things 
as are to be wrought in them, or done by them. And, 
thirdly, they must despair of ever attaining those things 
by their own power. 

]. They must despair of ever being saved, without those 
things which have been already mentioned to you, that 
must be wrought in us, and that, thereupon, must have an 
exercise from us in order to our being saved ; to wit, such 
as are, repentance to God, and faith in our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and the like; despair of ever being saved without 
these, and what goes accompanied therewith, (about prio- 
rity I have no mind to trouble you v/ith any discussion,) the 
full entire work of conversion, which, consider it seminally, 
is the same with regeneration : consider it progressively, it 
is the same with continued sanctification, proceeding here- 
upon ; a dying to sin, and living to righteousness. The 
same design for which Christ died, and bare our sins in 
his " body on the tree ;" 1 Peter ii. 24, that we might 
" die to sin, and live to righteousness," being healed by W\s 
stripes. Isaiah liii. 5. Now, without these things, we must 
despair of being saved, if ever we would hope for salvation 
upon good terms. 

This I know is that way which an heart yet habitually car- 
nal cannot but deeply and inwardly regret; but that is not 
to give us laws. The carnal heart was not consulted in 
framing and contriving the model of the gospel. God did 
never ask such the question, what will please you, that I 
may contrive the form and model of life and death, accord- 
ing to your inclination ? Such may be apt to say, when they 
are urged, You must break oft' from every evil way ; you must 
hate every thing of sin, how much soever you formerly 
loved it; you must deliver yourselves absolutely to the go- 
rerning power of Jesus Christ as your Redeemer and Lord, 
both at once ; when persons (I say) come to be closely thus 



urged, they will be apt to tell you, We have flesh and blood 
about us ; what would you have us do ? Why, I would put 
such upon considering seriously, Pra}', for whom was the 
gospel composed ? To what sort of creatures was it sent ? 
Was H ever designed or intended to be sent up into liea- 
ven, to be preached to angels and glorious spirits above? 
Was it ever intended to be sent down into hell, to be 
preached to devils, and damned spirits there ? No ; it was 
meant for none but those that have flesh and blood about 
them; for none but them whose dwelling is in flesh. And 
would any excuse himself from repenting towards God, 
which is turning to him with the whole heart and soul ? 
From believing in Christ by such a faith, as by which a vi- 
tal union shall be contracted between the soul and him ; 
with this that he hath flesh and blood about him r That is 
by the same excuse too, to excuse yourselves from being 
saved : 1 am not to be saved, because I have flesh and 
blood about me. For it is a vain imagination to think that 
God is at this time to alter his gospel, and make new terms 
of life and death for sinners ; when as this gospel, as it was 
only made for such as dwell in flesh, or have flesh and blood 
about them. It is true, that hath inferred a necessity, that 
that in which you dwell should not rule you. if we live 
after the flesh we shall die; but if through the Spirit we 
do mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live. How 
plainly doth the word of God speak his mind to us, if we 
will attend to it? That, therefore, is one of the things that 
you must despair of, if you will hope to purpose ; despair 
of ever being saved without such things to be wrought and 
done in you, as God hath put in immediate and certain 
connection with salvation. And, 

2. Despair too of ever being saved for those things that 
are to be acted by us, or wrought in us : though they are 
works of the Holy Ghost, yet the Holy Ghost was not intend- 
ed to merit for us ; the Holy Ghost was not to be our High 
Priest, we must not think to invest the Holy Ghost with 
the offices of Christ, and to confound their offices, and the 
works of their offices. Therefore, let repentance be sup- 
posed never so sincere; and faith, conversion, and regenera- 
tion, never so true in their own kind ; we must despair of 
being saved for these things, though we must also despair 
of ever being saved without them. ^' We through the Spirit, 
do wait for ihe hope of righteousness by faith." Gal. v, 5. 
The Spirit doth frame souls to an absolute reliance upon 

SER. xxiv.) Despair of your ozvn Strength. 329 

that righteousness that is by faith, that and no other, and 
so accordingly to wait for the hope of that righteousness. 

3. Despair of ever attaining to any of these things that 
are so necessary by your own power ; despair of ever being 
able to turn yourselves, or to beget faith in yourselves, or 
to regenerate yourselves, or to mortify sin yourselves, 
which you are told must be by the Spirit. The scripture 
will not misguide us if we will attend to it ; how plainly 
hath it told us, that our Lord Jesus Christ " is exalted to 
be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission 
of sins f" Acts v. 31. And that it is God that gives men 
repentance, that they may recover themselves out of the 
snare of the devil, " who are led captive by him at his will." 
2 Tim ii. 26. And faith we are told is the gift of God, 
and it is reckoned among " the fruits of the Spirit." Gal. 
V. 22. And regeneration we are told is bj' the Spirit, If a 
man be not born again (or born from above) by the Spirit, 
" he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John iii. 3, 6. 
" And if we by the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, wc 
shall live." Kom. viii. 13. And we are likewise told, that 
" God hath chosen us to salvation, through sanctification 
of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." 2 Thess. ii. 17. 

Therefore are we to despair of our reaching of those things, . 
that are so necessary to our salvation, by any power of our 
own. And so to despair is the way to hope ; that will not 
lead to absolute despair, but it only leads to this respective 
necessary despair, which doth itself lead to hope. It doth 
not make the case hopeless, that such a thing is out of my 
power, when it is not to be expected, except in that 
godlike way that is honourable to him, and becomes the 
enthroned majesty of heaven, that he should be owned and 
applied unto as the author and donor of every good and 
perfect gift, and perfect giving. And we shall miserably 
cheat ourselves, if ever we think or hope to be saved by a 
repentance, or faith, or conversion, that are self-sprung 
things, self-created things. That repentance which is only 
the product of our own power, or that faith, or that con- 
version, will lure us, will lead us to perish ; but you have 
heard often, again, and again, that the thing is not the less 
matter of hope, because it is not in our own power, when as 
the divine power that is to effect such things is upon such 
sure and firm grounds to be expected and looked for, that 
it should exert itself for such and such purposes; but to 
that purpose more will come in our way bye and bye ; these 


are things that it is fit and needful that you should despair 
of that you may hope. And, 

Direction 9- Take this further direction hereupon. That 
you are to put forth all your power to the very utmost, in 
order to the attaining those things that do accompany sal- 
vation, and that are in so necessary and certain connection 
with it. Your life lies upon it : — without these things you 
must perish. There is no remedy, but you must perish. 
What remains then r but that you do, to the uttermost, put 
forth all the power you have, in order to your serious re- 
pentance, in order to your believing with the faith of God's 
elect, and with a faith of the operation of God; and that 
you may have new hearts and right spirits created and 
renev/ed in you. 

Objection. But it may be said. Doth not this contradict 
the former head? Are we to use all our power, even to the 
uttermost, in order to the obtaining true repentance, and 
true faith, and that we may be truly regenerate and turned 
unto God, when yet we are told, we must utterly despair 
of ever attaining these things by our own power? 

Answer. Pray labour to understand matters that are in 
themselves plain. What is easier to understand, than the 
distinction between use and trust? Doth it follow, that 
because you are to distrust your own power, that therefore 
you are not to use it? May not a man lawfully use his money, 
and use his estate, because he is forbid to trust in uncertain 
riches? And because some do sinfully trust in chariots and 
horses, is it therefore unlawful to use a chariot or an horse? 
Consider that the natural faculties and powers that God 
hath given you, you are to be accountable for the use of 
to him. And what? Are you not then to use them? Your 
understandings, your considering power, your thinking 
power, are these exempt, from under the divine go- 
vernment, because you are not to trust them, as what were 
sufficient to do all your business ? If you would but consi- 
der things with the understandings of men, you might easily 
know, that it is most indispensably incumbent upon us to 
do our uttermost, to strive as for our lives, to exert all our 
powers, while in the mean time, we acknowledge all our 
power is an insufliicient thing. And therefore we are to 
cry and supplicate, to crave and implore heaven, for the 
addition of an higher and greater power than ours. This 
is just, this is rational, and suitable to the order of things 
between God and his intelligent creatures. And then 

sER. XXIV.) Let Hope be constant and abiding. 831 

Direction 10. Let this further direction be considered, to 
wit, Constantly hope, that, by the divine power, you shall 
be enabled to reach and attain to those things that are, and 
he hath made necessary, for your salvation. And this hath 
two branches, 

1. Constantly hope you shall attain them, otherwise, if 
you do not hope that hope, all is lost, and you are presently 
at a stand, and cannot move one step further towards being 
saved, or towards salvation as your end. All is lost, if that 
hope fail, that you shall attain those things that are neces- 
sary, by divine appointment and constitution, for salvation. 
For pray consider, if a man take a journey, (supposing of 
an hundred miles,) if he did not hope he should go through 
that journey, he would never begin it. It is the hope he 
shall go through, that doth excite and engage to begin, 
otherwise he would sit still at home; but then, if he doth 
hope that he shall go through this journey of an hundred 
miles, and reach such a place at length, he must hope, in 
order hereunto, that he shall go through the first mile. He 
cannot hope that he shall go the whole hundred miles, if he 
do not hope he shall go the first. So if you do hope you shall 
be saved, you must hope that you shall do things, be enabled 
to do things, that are necessary to being saved. He that 
doth not hope to reach a place, but a mile off, that is his 
certain and direct way to a place an hundred miles off, and 
there is no other way, will never make one step at ail to- 
wards that place. And this is your case, when God hath 
made it so absolutely necessary in order to your being 
saved, that you repent, that you turn to him, and come 
into union with his Son, and deliver yourselves up to him, 
take him to be yours, and give yourselves to be his : if you 
hope not, you shall reach these things, your hope of 
being saved will be a mad hope ; as his must be a mad hope 
that he shall reach his hundred miles, when he doth not 
hope to reach the first mile, when there is no other way to 
such a place an hundred miles off, but by that a mile off. 
And therefore this hope must be fixed and kept alive, 
though 1 cannot say I have been brought to repentance 
yet, and to faith in the Son of God, yet I hope I shall. 
You must hope first for such a thing. And then, 

2. Hope that it shall be brought about by a divine power, 
for otherwise, (as you have heard) you are not to hope for 
it. And positively, you must hope for it this way, and no 
other way. '' According as his divine power hath given us 
all things pertaining to life and godliness; and given to us 


exceeding great and precious promises, that by them we 
might be partakers of the divine nature/' 2 Peter i. 3, 4. 
^yhlch carries all this in it. Here must be your hope: 
Such things have not been wrought and done in me yet, 
but through the grace of God, I hope that they shall. 

Direction 11. Take heed that defeatments and delays do 
not subvert and overthrow in you this hope. Of this there 
is the greatest imaginable danger ; and these two expres- 
sions, (defeatments and delays,) I purposely intend to refer 
to two sorts of persons, who may have their different con- 
cerns in this direction, to wit, especially a younger and an 
elder sort. 

1. A younger sort, such as may be in a very great strug- 
gle between strong youthful lusts, and strong convictions, 
which may in some measure have taken hold of their souls. 
This is sometimes the case, discourses that I have had with 
divers, and bills that I have received from more, do assure 
me that this is a case that requires a great place and room 
in our consideration and discourse. There are those who 
now and then, (who in that age wherein lust and concupi- 
scence have greater advantages to be predominant,) arc 
taken hold of by the word, and it strikes conscience, and 
gets some advantages upon them. They are in a great loss 
in their own spirits. Vicious inclinations are strong; con- 
viction upon their spirits hath some strength too. It 
may be, some such have found, that whereas here is a strug- 
gle, a strong earnest struggle, the conquest is easier over 
conscience than over inclination: it is an easier matter to 
overcome there; they easier baffle their light than they 
can their lusts. And when they have considered, under 
the power of conviction, that there was some neces- 
sity upon them to change their course, it may be, they have 
come to some resolution upon that consideration, that they 
would become other men; that they would lead another 
sort of life. It may be, the next temptation, or the next 
insinuation of a lewd, idle companion, hath proved too 
hard and too strong for them; they could not withstand ; 
and the bonds of iniquities have held them faster than the 
bonds of their vows, and covenants, and solemn engage- 
ments, that they have taken upon their souls. They have 
broken loose from these bonds, and are held so much the 
faster by those former bonds : and hereupon, having once 
found themselves at liberty, they sell themselves to slavery, 
sell themselves to do evil; and the Spirit of God that was 

SER. XXIV.) Guard agaimt defeats. 333 

at work iu them, is receded and gone : they began in the 
Spirit, they have ended in the flesh. There are now no 
more gales, not one breath of that Spirit upon their spirits 
any more. An hopeful gale they had, that brought them 
near to a safe harbour ; but they are, all on a sudden, hurried 
back again to a raging sea, that casts up nothing but mire 
and dirt. What a fearful case is this ^ If they reflect upon 
themselves, they will be ready to say, What is to be done 
in this case? And truly if any one should say so to me, I 
should return the question. What will you do in this case ? 
or what do you think is to be done in this case ? Do you 
think there is no hope in the case.'' Will you say that? or 
if there is to be any hope, what shall that hope be of? or 
what are ye to hope for ? Such a thing I would consider 
and debate with any such an one. Are you to have, any liope 
at all ? Are you to abandon all hope ? Truly that is not 
like a reasonable creature to say so, that you are to abandon 
all hope, while you are yet on this side hell, and infernal flames 
have not yet seized you ; you are not to put yourself into 
the state of a devil, whilst as yet, God hath not put you 
into that state. But if you are to hope at all, what are 
you to hope for? Are you to hope that God will save you 
upon other terms than he hath declared in his gospel ? Are 
you to hope that he will make a new gospel, to comply 
with your humour and lustful inclination ? Are you to hope 
for that? That certainly were the maddest hope that ever 
was taken up by any one. All hope you are to have is, 
that if you have any apprehension of your case, the grieved 
Spirit may return, the aff'ronted, resisted Spirit, if you cry 
for its return; if you supplicate as for life, that Spirit that 
carries all the treasures of divine light, and life, and grace 
in it, may yet return. There have been instances of its 
having done so. 

How famous is the story that we meet with in Church 
History, concerning that vicious young man, that was at 
first reduced by the ministry of the Apostle John, and 
brought to a great degree of seriousness I The Apostle, 
having occasion to absent himself from the place where he 
was, leaves him under the care of such an one, charging 
him with his soul ; " Look (saith he) well to the soul of this 
young man." After the Apostle was gone, the young man 
breaks out into his former excesses again, and herds himself 
with a company of thieves and cut-tiiroats. The Apostle 
being returned, and inquiring after him, saying. What is 
become of that young man ? The answer that was made 


him was. He is dead, dead in sin, dead in wickedness again : 
much like the usage that was in Pythagoras's school, where 
if any had been in that school of virtue, and made some 
proficiency there for any considerable time, and relapsed 
into vice, they were solemnly cast out, and a coffin was 
brought into the place to hold a funeral for them as dead ; 
so it is said of this young man, he was dead. But the 
Apostle makes inquiry after him, and finds him out, brings 
him to his feet, takes hold of him, down he falls, and by 
the power of prayer and holy counsel, he was effectually 
reduced, and brought back again. 

So it may yet be with some such horrid decliners and 
backsliders from the ways of God. If they apprehend 
whither they are going, whither their way leads them, and 
cry for the returning of the Holy Ghost as for life, as ap- 
prehending themselves lost if lie return not, there is yet 
hope in this case. And it is by no means in the world, to 
bethought of, that such are to abandon all hope ; for that 
is to make devils of themselves above ground, and to create 
to themselves a present hell on this side hell. You are 
within the reach of the gospel while you are on this side of 
the infernal regions; and it is a gospel of grace, crying to 
you. Return, — return. These are they to whom I had re- 
ference in that word defeats ; do not let your hope 
be destroyed, by the defeats you have met with. But 

'2. There is another sort that I had a more distinct refer- 
ence to in my thoughts, in using the word delays, in this 
direction. Take heed lest defeatments and delays destroy 
your hope. Now that of delays, I meant in reference to 
such as have sat long under the gospel, even to a grown 
age, and never have found any good effect by it; it hath 
wrought no change, made no impression. There may be 
many such, that were never vicious persons at all, never 
grossly vicious ; but then they have lived in a place where 
some exercises of religion were a fashionable thing. They 
have had religion enough to carry them to a sermon on the 
Lord's day in some Christian assembly, and perhaps to 
engage in somewhat of family duties; perhaps so, but they 
have sat with mere formality the greatest part of a life 
time, under the gospel, and never felt any real good by it, 
never expected any, never designed any; but come to a 
church, or a meeting-house, and spend an hour or two with 
the rest, in solemn attendances upon the worship of God, 
and never look after it more, (it may be,) till the week come 

SER. XXIV.) Guard against delays. 385 

about again. All their, business is driving designs for this 
earth ; " They mind earthly things," as the Apostle's cha- 
racter is of them, of whom also he saith, " their end is de- 
struction." Phil. iii. 18, 19- What it was to have their 
souls turned to God, to come to a solemn closure with 
Christ as their Redeemer and Lord, or to exercise them- 
selves unto inward heart-godliness in any kind, they know 
not what belongs to it. It may be, they are just and up- 
right in their dealings with those with whom they have to 
do; and they reckon that their justice towards men must 
expiate all their injustice towards God, their neglett of 
him, their slighting him, their casting him out of their 
thoughts, out of their fear and out of their desires. 

This seems to be a very sad case, that a man should have 
lived all his days under the gospel, and it hath never made 
any impression on him as yet: the Spirit of God hath not 
as yet sensibly breathed, so as, at least, to beget any per- 
manent and abiding effect ; here hath been a long deferring, 
a long delaying of taking hold of these souls to purpose; 
and it may be, now their long delay may make such persons 
think. No, there is no change to be hoped for, nothing to 
be expected, none to be looked for; I have sat so long, so 
many years, ten, twenty, or thirty, (it may be,) forty years, 
under the gospel, under such a ministry, and never hath 
there been any such effect wrought upon me, and I do 
not think there ever will. 

Oh .' take heed, lest the having any such work upon you 
deferred so long, do destroy hope that ever such work shall 
be done; for then again, all is lost if you be hopeless; if 
there be not a vital hope and expectation, from time to 
time, in such and such a word, that some good may be done 
in my soul, that I may hear somewhat that I may feel, that 
the word may yet drop that may have life in it, that may 
have power in it. If you do not hope for this, if you do 
not expect such a thing, you are, as much as you can, put- 
ting yourselves quite out of the way of being saved, or 
having the reasonable hope of it; for still I must say, you 
are not to expect a new gospel, that God will save you 
without those necessary pre-requisites to salvation, without 
repentance, without faith, without conversion, and without 
sanctification. And therefore in the last place. 

Direction 12. That which I would lastly add, by way of 
direction to this sort of persons is, that you would 
see to it, that though hope in these cases must not be 
thrown away, that yet it be qualified with such concomi- 


lants as are proper and suitable in such a case. They are 
such as these ; I will but name them, that the next time my 
discourse may directly respect the other case, that of 

1. Prayer. Your hope in such a case as this must always 
be accompanied with pVa3'er. It must be praying, suppli- 
cating hope. It is suitable to your case, if you hope to 
pray ; and never hope without prayer. When we are ex- 
horted to take to ourselves the " helmet," which we are 
told " is the hope of salvation," it is presently subjoined, 
" praying always with all prayer and supplication." Eph. 
vi. 17. with 1 Cor. v. 8. These must be conjunct; if we 
hope, we must continue to pray. Give yourselves to prayer, 
to all prayer and supplication, otherwise we do (as much 
as possible) blast all our hope, and it can never be an 
helmet to us ; it will betray our head, not cover it, not pro- 
tect it. 

2. Deep Humility. Join deep humility with your hope. 
Let it be humble hope. Such an one should ^' put his 
mouth in the dust, if there might be any hope." Lam. iii. 
29. And, 

3. Self Loathing. Join with it self-loathing, self-abhor- 
rence; not only of yourselves as mean creatures, but as 
vile and odious; and yet hope, join hope with that self- 
abasing temper, self-loathing of the Publican : then will 
your sense be, (as his,) " God be merciful to me a sinner," 
who it is said at last went away justified and accepted. If 
you be fair in your own eyes, if your sense be that of the 
Laodicean Church, '^ I am rich, and increased in goods, and 
have need of nothing, and do not know that you are 
wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked ;" you have 
no place in you for that hope that will do you any good ; 
but such self reviling thoughts, " If I were perfect, yet would 
I not know my own soul, I would despise my life ;" how well 
doth hope do in such a tempered spirit as this ? How suitable 
a soil is this for that heavenly hope to grow and flourish 
in ? And, 

4. Watchfulness. Join to your hope watchfulness and 
vigilancy. Watchfulness may respect both God and your- 
selves. Watchfulness respecting God is exercised in con- 
tinual looking towards him : when shall that happy time 
come? when shall any beam of light descend? when shall 
any influence of grace flow in ? Watchfulness respecting 
yourselves is exercised in watching over a treacherous 
heart : and know, that whenever you arc to design such a 

SKR. XXIV.) Hope accompanied with Patience. 337 

thing, as your own salvation, and so accordingly to hopt 
for it, a main and principal, and immediate object of your 
hope must be, that you shall be saved from yourselves; 
and thereupon indeed, it is a most self-contradicting hope, 
to hope I shall be saved, without hoping that sin shall be 
overcome. I shall gain the conquest at last over predo- 
minating corrupt inclinations, whether more grossly sensual 
ones, or whether avaricious ones, or ambitious ones, and the 
like; for do not you know, that our Lord Jesus Christ hath 
therefore his name of Jesus, a Saviour, because he was to 
save his people from their sins : and do you think you shall 
be saved, without being saved from yourselves, your sinful 
selves? This is to hope you shall be saved without salva- 
tion; this is to hope with such an hope, as wherewith you 
shall tear a thing from itself, to hope you shall be saved 
without being saved. If ever you are to be saved, you are 
to be saved from yourselves; and therefore, yourselves are 
to be the great object of your watchfulness, your continual 
vigilancy ; watching over yourselves, as your worst and 
most dangerous enemy. 1 am to fear hell from myself, 
death from myself, a curse from myself; and lest I be a 
continual spring of all misery and woe to myself, there 
must be a continual watchfulness over ourselves, to repress 
all ebullitions of corrupt nature at the first. Oh ! this lust- 
ful heart! This proud heart! This ambitious heart! This 
sensual heart ! A severe self-inspection into, and watchful- 
ness over ourselves, is that which must be in conjunction 
with hope. Watch and hope, be sober and hope to the end. 
That spiritual sobriety carries vigilancy in it, a continual 
watchfulness over yourselves. And again, 

5. Patience. This hope must be accompanied with pa- 
tience. Doth not the context tell you so ? " We are saved 
by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope : but if we hope 
for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." 
God is not bound to your time, he hath not come in yet; 
suppose he do not strike that stroke upon your heart this 
day, that is necessary to your being saved. Why hope that 
he will the next day, or the next after that, " If we hope 
for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." 
" Blessed is he that watcheth at the doors," that waiteih at 
the posts of wisdom's gates ; " for he that findeth me, find- 
eth life, and shall obtain favour from the Lord." Prov. viii. 
34, 35. I have not met with him that is to be the life of 
my soul yet; but I will wait, I will miss no opportunity, 1 
will be always at the posts of wisdom's door, I may find 

VOL. s\\\. z 


him at last, who will be the life of my soul ; and there all 
my hopes and all my concernments are involved and wrapt 
up together. And in the last place, 

6. Diligence. You must join diligence with hope; an 
industrious, laborious diligence. It must be a working, 
operative hope, like that of the husbandman, who ploweth 
in hope, and soweth in hope, that he may be partaker of 
his hope, as the Apostle's allusion is ; so must you, as to this 
spiritual husbandry in which you must be engaged, you 
must strive in hope, and labour in hope. And if yours be 
not an hope that will put you upon striving and labouring, 
it is a dead hope, an useless hope; and such as can contri- 
bute nothing to your salvation. And so I have done with 
those directions that are requisite as to the former sort, the 
unregenerate and unconverted; the next will respect the 
other sort, and their case, to wit, that of converts, so as to 
influence their perseverance unto salvation. 



fVe are saved by hope. 

The order of discourse upon this subject hath brought 
rae now at length to say somewhat, by way of direction, to 
those, who, being regenerate, and turned to God, are on 
their way towards him. That the principle of hope, which 
doth more especially belong to their regenerate state, may 
be improved by them, to their cheerful and more comfort- 
able progress through the whole of their course and way 
to their end. We having spoken by way of direction to a 
former sort, and to a former case, to wit, to direct how 
hope may bejimproved, in order to conversion and regene- 
ration itself : nor am I solicitous, that the course I have 
taken upon this subject haih obliged me to be long upon 
it ; for [ both consider the great importance of the subject, 
which I cannot but know as you, any of you may, and must, 
when you seriously bethink yourselves of it. And also, I 
know not, that any have purposely and designedly treated 

* Preached October 18, 16U1. 

SER. XXV.) The new creature made tip of Hope. 339 

upon this subject ; that is, to shew the necessary influence 
ot'hope upon the whole business of a Christian's Hfe, from 
first and last, from the beginning of it, till it end in eternal 

I shall repeat nothing of what hath been said by way of 
direction, in reference to the former case, to wit, to persons 
yet unregenerate, what improvement is to be made of hope 
in order to their regeneration, and their being born of 
God ; to which nothing is more plain, than that it would ne- 
ver be, but as even then they begin to have hope God-ward. 
But my present and remaining business is to shew the 
continual influence that hope may be improved unto for a 
Christian's progress, to help on those that are regenerate, 
and born to God, in their way to him. That so, upon the 
whole matter, you may see the new creature, it is from 
first to last a creature (as it were) made up of hope ; its 
very make and constitution are suited to the state which it 
is successively made for. In this present state, while its great 
supports do lie in unseen and expected good things, there 
cannot but be a continual exercise of hope necessary from 
first to last ; but in the other state, hope naturally turns 
into joy; when the things that were before matter of ex- 
pectation, are now come to be the matter of actual frui- 
tion. In the meantime, its make and frame suit it to the 
present state of its case. That whereas, such as were be- 
fore strangers and aliens to God, in a state of apostacy 
from him, they begin to be prompted and stirred up to look 
after God ; as soon as any such instinct is put into them, 
it is put into them in a way of hope. 

God hath a design in hand to restore and recover apos- 
tate creatures ; saith the soul, I own myself to be such an 
one ; I am miserable, and lost for ever, if I do not return to 
God, and if God accept me not. I have hope I shall : I have 
hope he will. And so the soul is (as it were) begotten to 
God, even by the power of hope ; and being reconciled, 
the great remaining expectation is, of being saved, of 
being brought to a safe and happy state at last. Hope 
runs through the course of such a converted, regenerate 
sotfl, even to the attainment of its end, which is actual sal- 

And whereas the gospel is the great and stated means 
by which souls are, both begotten unto God, and enabled 
to adhere and cleave to him, even to the end; where that 
gospel hath long been, there is great reason to think that 
God had much such work to do ; many such blessed effects to 

z 2 


bring about upon souls ; and that much such work is done : 
that with us, God hath touched many souls, turned many 
hearts, implanted that new and divine principle in many, 
that will certainly end at last in eternal life. It is not to 
be thought (or at least one would be very loth to think or 
imagine such a thing) that a bright, and blissful heaven 
should have been opened among us, so long, so continually, 
by the gospel, whose design it is to bring life and immor- 
tality to light, that we, amidst all the impurities, and 
darkness, and wretchedness, of this our present state, should 
have such a glorious prospect given us, and set before our 
eyes ; heaven opened in all the glories of it, (as in the 
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ it is ;) and that we, after all 
this, should agree in it as our common sense, and sentiment, 
that it is better always to dwell in this dungeon, so as to 
have no aspirings, no hope, directed upward, towards that 
glorious state of things ; one would be loth (I say) to 
admit such an apprehension as this ; that this should be 
our common sentiment; that it is better to dwell in a dun- 
geon always, than amidst all that divine light and glory, 
above, whither we are called, and whereupon the hope of 
our calling doth finally terminate ; yea, and though we 
know that the dungeon is to fall upon us ere it be long, 
and that they who have effected that dwelling, must cer- . 
tainly be overwhelmed with its ruin. It is meet for us to 
judge that there are sundry, whose souls God hath, by the 
power of his gospel animated by his Spirit, possessed with 
another sense. 

And if there be many such, or any such, that are looking 
higher, that have their expectations and hopes placed upon 
some other sorts of things, things of an higher excellency 
and value than this lower creation can afford ; the greatest 
care imaginable then must be had, that their hope be kept 
alive in strength and vigour ; if it fail, if it should languish, 
if it were possible it should, and it were ever so certain, 
that it should never expire and fail ; yet means must be 
used, that it may not; but (I say) if it should fail, (and the 
dread ought to be upon our spirits, that it may not fail, 
that it may never fail;) then are such poor creatures*in- 
gulphed again, sunk in, and swallowed up by the spirit of 
this world; and so exposed, and left to be involved with it 
in its fearful ruin. That it may not be so, and because it 
shall not be so with those that do peculiarly belong to God, 
and are tlie children of the kingdom, begotten to the eter- 
nal heavenlv inheritance; all endeavours must be used that 

SER. XXT.) Meditate on future Glory. 341 

hope may be preserved and kept alive in them. And in 
order to it, pray take these following directions. 

Direction 1. See that your spirits be deeply and serious- 
ly engaged, and taken up in the meditation of" that glorious 
state of" things which you profess finally to hope for, and 
which you expect should be your eternal state. See (I say) 
that your spirits be deeply exercised in meditation of that 
glorious state of things. The way to keep hope alive, is to 
keep its glorious, blessed object in view. The hope of the 
greatest things imaginable can never live, or be influential 
in any of us, if we do not preserve the remembrance, and 
have not the actual thoughts of them. If there be such a 
thing as the habit of hope yet left, it will be a languishing 
thing, and afford us no support; it will be as dead within 
us, if we have not frequent views of the glorious object of 
it; if we do not look towards that object, take it in its 
comprehension, and compass even the whole state of 
things, that we expect and hope for as our final and eternal 

I pray, let us labour, not only to realize, but familiarize to 
ourselves the unseen world. It is a shame that we should 
be called Christians, and that our thoughts should be taken 
up chiefly, and principally, about things that are seen. 
Christian hope lies beyond and above those things : we for^ 
feit our names while we confine our thoughts so much to 
that which is present and sensible, if in this life only, we 
have hope in Christ, as Christians, we make ourselves the 
most miserable of creatures; we are made up of contradic- 
tions, we are in a continual vi^ar with ourselves, we do not 
act and carry it so consistently with ourselves as other men 
do, who do not pretend to Christianity ; we are more mise- 
rable than they. 

And, that 1 may the more fruitfully enlarge upon this, 
as, that without which our hope is a languid and insigni- 
ficant thing, and in a direct way to be reduced to nothing ; 
let me desire you to give compass and scope to your 
thoughts about the invisible world, and the expected state 
of things, which is to be the great and final object of your 
hope. The context, which ^hath so immediate reference 
thereunto, would aflx>rd you very great help for the mana- 
ging and directing your thoughts in the contemplation of 
the invisible state. You see it is spoken of a little before the 
text, under the notion of glory ; a glorious state, a state 
of glory. " 1 reckon that the sufterings of the present time 
are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to bq 

z 3 



revealed in us," verse 18. And that glory is spoken of un- 
def the. notion of an inheritance. They that are the rege- 
nerate sons of God, and now actually under the govern- 
ment of the Divine Spirit which begot them unto God ; 
they that are so children, are also heirs, " heirs of God, and 
and joint heirs with Christ," verse 17. " That after having 
suffered awhile with him, they may be also glorified toge- 
ther with him." As to the invisible world, (that happy part 
of it, where " the heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ," 
have their eternal concernments lying,) that happy part of 
it is to be looked upon as a region of glory, all glory. 
And that you may give latitude and scope to your thoughts 
about this, which is the very hope of your calling, the final 
hope of it, I pray consider such things as these more par- 
ticularly concerning it. Considerations to enforce this first 

1. Contemplate the vast amplitude of that glorious re- 
gion, where you (if you be regenerate, and born of God, 
and heirs of the celestial kingdom) are to have your ever- 
lasting abode. Think (I say) seriously and often of the 
vast amplitude of it, that you may give scope and room to 
your thoughts ; it is mean to be confined in our apprehen- 
hensions of things to this little spot of our earth, wherein 
We breathe; think if you were ascending from it, if you 
were ascended but a little way, into how vastly larger, and 
more spacious, and roomy a region do you come but by a 
little ascent ; but if you were ascended as high as our vor- 
tex, as the utmost confines of this vortex of ours, to which 
this earth, and the sun, and moon, and other planets do be- 
long ; how inconsiderable a point is all this earth, in com- 
parison of that vortex to which all these do belong ? But 
if you were beyond that, beyond that circuit and those con- 
fines within which all this planetary region is limited ; then 
how vastly spacious are all the supernal heavens above the 
regions in which the sun, and moon, and other planets, do 
move ? So as we are even lost in the thoughts whither we 
should then go ; and it is pleasant to be so lost. 

And to consider how despicable a nothing this earth of 
ours is in comparison ; so as it may be lost, it may be con- 
sumed, and burnt up, and that it is an insignificant thing to 
the universe; no more than the burning of one single little 
cottage would be in a vast empire, containing two hundred 
and twenty-seven provinces as Ahasuerus's did ; one that is 
an heir of heaven, and of the inheritance of the saints in 
light, when he thinks of the burning of this world, may say 

SER. XXV.) The Glories of the heavenly uorld. 343 

what is it to me ? my concernments lie not here, it is a des- 
picable, inconsiderable trifle ; it is no more loss to the crea- 
tion, and no more loss to me, than the dropping of an hair, 
one single hair. Labour to aggrandize to yourselves so 
much as this comes to, of the object of your hope ; to wit, 
to consider the vast amplitude of the region of glory : we 
must think with ourselves, that as to what doth more sub- 
side in this creation is baser and meaner, fitter for baser 
and meaner inhabitants ; it is but a very little inconsidera- 
ble part, in comparison of the ample and spacious regions 
of the encircling heavens above, that seem all appropriated 
to the heirs of the eternal kingdom. And then, 

2. When you are laying before your eyes the object of 
your hope, that that may be lively and strong in you ; 
consider too the numerous multitude of the inhabitants of 
those glorious regions, or, to speak collectively of that 
region of glory. It is true, in this little inconsiderable 
world of ours, we find the inhabitants are generally very 
numerous, (as there will be more occasion to speak bye and 
bye ;) but, alas, M'hat is this little perishable thing, (this 
world of ours,) to the universe ? And it is a very unreasona- 
ble foolish thought to think the nobler parts of the creation 
of God to be less destitute of inhabitants than our earth is. 
Do but turn up a clod of earth, and you see every little 
clod inhabited with somewhat or other that hath life in it, 
little insects and animacula that have life in them. It is a 
foolish thought, to think that the nobler parts of the crea^ 
lion of God should be less full of inhabitants, though still 
meaner the nearer this earth ; but if you ascend higher, you 
are to suppose all filled with living inhabitants; and (as we 
have reason to apprehend) with creatures innocent and up- 
right with God, angel-like creatures. 

It is true many angels fell, many, if you consider them 
abstractedly ; but take them comparatively, and we have no 
reason to think but that they were a very small part of the 
host of heaven, in comparison with them that stood, and 
retained their integrity ; and if the upper regions be re- 
plenished with innocent creatures, lull of the love of God, 
and of the knowledge of God, and who stand in absolute 
devotedness to him ^ then you must consider the blessed 
society, the society of the blessed, to be a most nunierous 
thing. The innumerable company of angels, and the 
spirits of men made perfect ; so that the angels that have 
fallen, and the apostate sons of men that shall not be re- 
covered, and that finally persist in enmity against all the 

z 4 


methods of reconciliation, though they will be numerous, 
yet a little inconsiderable number they must be, in compa- 
rison of all those glorious creatures that inhabit the more 
noble parts of God's creation : and it would make a man's 
hope revive, and spring, and flourish mightily in him, to 
think of being ere long one of that vast and numerous as- 
sembly, that blessed glorious assembly, the innumerable 
company of angels, and the spirits of just men made per- 
fect. And, 

3. Consider, again, the high and admirable perfection of 
these blessed creatures, of whom you are to be one ; iheir 
bodily perfections, (which are not nothing,) and their men- 
tal spiritual perfections, which are incomparably more, are 
to be considered. As to the former, the words immediately 
foregoing the text, do directly cast back our thoughts upon 
them, upon those perfections that are more properly corpo- 
real, and that belong to the body : not only they, (that is 
the rest of the creation,) but ourselves also, which have re- 
ceived the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan 
within ourselves, waiting (which carries hope in it as you 
do well know) for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of 
our bodies ; for we are saved by hope. We that now 
dwell in these bodies so cumbersome, so tiresome, that are 
such an anno3'ance to us, and so great a depression to us ; 
we are hoping, hoping for a time and state of things when 
these bodies are to have an entire, complete redemption 
irom every thing which isgravanimous and burthensome to 
them, and by which they are gravanimous to our spirits, to 
ourselves ; and it is by the hope of this, that we are saved. 
Here we are depressed and sunk very low ; these bodies 
are prisons and dungeons to us ; they are so, but we are 
saved by that hope of the day of our redemption ; the re- 
demption of our bodies, which is also the day of our adop- 
tion, or solemn adoption. 

I have told you upon this occasion formerly, of a double 
adoption among the Romans, private and public. It is the 
public adoption that is here referred to. In the private, 
every good soul is adopted when it is regenerate; but the 
public adoption, or the manifestation of the sons of God, 
(as it is afterwards called,) it is referred unto that day when 
all are to be visibly invested with their glorious bodies, 
conformed to the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
To have such an agility of body as that, it shall never be 
a clog ; such refined spirits that will never cloud our 
thoughts, that will never obstruct the notions of the soul. 

SER. xxT.) Our resurrection bodies glorious. 345 

And that shall be, with respect of aptitude, to speedy mo- 
tion so little cumbersome, that, as Austin's celebrated ex- 
pression is, uhi voluerit animus, ibi protinus erit corpus ; 
wheresoever the mind wills or wishes to be, there the body 
shall be in a moment. Its motions, and (for ought we 
know,) its texture, (as that of the sun beams,) gliding as 
quick as a thought, this way, or that ; and (for ought we 
know) as fine; it being very easy to make the grossest 
earth as fine as the purest ether, to him that made all things 
out of nothing; and since chemistry performs a great deal 
this way by human art, much more may divine. 

So as that these bodies that we are afterwards to inhabit, 
are said to be from heaven, the terrestrial to be all gone; 
for in this we groan, '' earnestly desiring to be clothed 
upon with our house that is from heaven." 2 Cor. v. 2. 
All of apiece with heaven, contempered unto heaven, the 
earthly house of this tabernacle, changed into such an 

2. And it is very material, and seems to be glanced at in 
that which is said by our Saviour; ^' Therighteous shall shine 
as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father." Matt. xiii. 43. 
The sun in the firmament is (as it were) the resemblance of 
a glorified body, and how near it may be of the same ma- 
terials we cannot tell, all our earth being refined into so 
pure and celestial a matter. And, 

S. And then, if you consider again the spiritual and men- 
tal perfections (which is incomparably a great thing) of the 
happy members of this glorious, blessed, numerous society. 
There you must understand his knowledge in perfection, 
his holiness in perfection, and his love in perfection. It 
cannot be expected that in this subject, I could stay to di- 
late upon every one ; but it is a great thing to think of the 
matter of our own hope in this : 1 hope to be one of them, I 
hope to be such a creature, inhabiting such a mind, in such 
a body, to be one of those Isangeloi, (as they are called,) 
angels' fellows, equal to the angels of God : Oh ! that we 
should have such things as these in view, and obvious to 
our thoughts, and yet have no thoughts about them, or few 
thoughts about them ! Live with minds (as it were) con- 
fined to this earth, and continually grovelling in the dust of 
it ! This is mean, this is dishonourable to our Father, 
who hath begotten us to a lively hope of a glorious inheri- 
tance ; and it is most injurious to ourselves. To think that I 
shall have a mind, a spirit ere it be long, (as mean and ab- 
ject a thing as 1 now am,) all (as it were) composed, and made 


tip of knowledge, and of purity, and of love ; what a glori- 
ous thing is that ? And that I shall have a spirit inhabiting 
a body, (since I was made to join with a body,) that shall be 
no hindrance, no burthensome thing to me, no tedious, 
irksome, companion to all eternity. And again, 

4. Consider about this state, the universal harmony that 
must hereupon be in all this glorious, blessed society, as^ 
vastly numerous and extensive as it is through the spa- 
cious heavens, those regions of light and bliss : come where- 
ever one will, the same order universally obtaining every 
where ; all animated by one and the same spirit ; for they 
" that sow to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life ever- 
lasting." Gal. vi. 8. That immense almighty Spirit (as 
the living creature in the wheels) acting in every mind, 
be they ever so numerous, and never so vastly ex- 
tended through the regions of light and bliss; all ever- 
lastingly under the dominion of the same blessed, al- 
mighty, and omnipresent Spirit ; so that there is here 
among them, wheresoever they be, not one dissentient 
thought ; all have the same sentiment, the same mind, the 
same inclination, and all centre in one and the same de- 
sign : no jarring, no disagreement, no darkness, no obscu- 
rity, no error, much more no animosity, having the least 
place in any member of that glorious society. And 

5. Consider the glorious visible residence of our great 
Redeemer among them, who can render himself every where 
present, and every where appearing in conspicuous glory. 
How grateful and entertaining a thought must that be to 
them, who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, that 
they are to be for ever with the Lord, when that happy 
season comes, that the Lord descends with a shout, with 
the voice of the archangel and the trump of God ; and the 
dead in Christ are first raised and caught up into the clouds,^ 
and do meet their Redeemer in the air, then are they ever 
with the Lord. 1 Thess. iv. l6, 17. never out of his compa- 
ny, though their company be so vastly numerous and great ; 
for he is the head of all principalities and powers, the head 
of all things to the church ; and yet he must be every where 
present to every one, for they are all to be ever with the 
Lord. And when so much is plainly enough expressed and 
declared to us, we need never trouble ourselves to think 
how it shall be ; he that we know to have done so great 
things already, can easily add to this all the rest ; make 
himself present to those vastly numerous, innumerable 

SER. XXV.) Glori/ of the divine presence. 347 

myriads of glorious creatures, that do every where delight 
in his presence, and cannot but eternally do so. 

And to this also, the context here rePers us, still leadin"- 
us to the final object of our hope ; they are to be the heirs 
of the eternal glory, as their inheritance ; they are to be 
"joint heirs with Christ," they are to inherit with Christ, 
" and, after having suffered with him, are to be glorified to- 
gether with him," verse 17 ; after we have suffered awhile; 
he and we having been suffering together, he and we shall 
be glorified together. And to the same purpose is that ad- 
mirable contexture of discourse ; 2 Cor. v. from the begin- 
ning of the chapter to the 8th verse ; but 1 cannot stay to 
run it over with you. Take notice, 1 pray you, what "you 
find there, in that 8th verse ; we are confident, (saith he,) 
and willing rather to be absent from the body, (this terres- 
trial body,) not any body at all, not altogether to be un- 
clothed, but to be clothed upon; this terrestrial body being 
reformed, refined, clarified into another thing: for that body 
we are now in, this terrestrial body, we covet rather to be 
absent from it, and to be present with the Lord. Accord- 
ing to that, Phil. i. 23. I desire rather to be " dissolved 
and be with Christ, which is far better." We are to be in 
his presence, and to have him present among us, as soon as 
we are loose from this base, mean thing, this vile body that 
we are now linked, and clogged with. And the expressions 
are very observable, that are used in the mentioned place, 
2 Cor. V. The words used, signify to be peopled with, or 
unpeopled, or dispeopled from. The expression of being 
present with the Lord, doth intimate the Lord our blessed 
Redeemer to be the head, the president of that dis-peopled 
sort of people, whose dwelling is not with flesh ; they do not 
inhabit and dwell in such bodies as those are, in which we 
now dwell ; and I long (saith he) to be dis-peopled from 
this bodily sort of people ; and to be taken into the commu- 
nion of that people that dwell out of such bodies with the 
Lord ; to be peopled with that people, of which he is the 
immediate, visible, glorious, head ; there 1 long to be. I 
would fain be absent from this body. I desire it rather, I 
choose it as a more desirable thing, to be dis-peopled from 
this bodied sort of people; and to be peopled with them, to 
make one amongst them, who do people the glorious re- 
gions above, which are peopled with another sort of inha- 
bitants, and with them do 1 covet and hope to dwell, and 
long to dwell. And then, 

6. Consider too the divine presence universally reple- 


riishing all, for in that everlasting state God is himself to be 
immediately all in all; and so all to be universally trans- 
formed into the image of that bright glory, which shines 
upon them from his blessed face, and all to inhabit that one 
and the same divine presence, where there is fulness of joy, 
and where there are *^ pleasures for evermore." Psalm xvi. 
last verse. Oh ! for such mean creatures as we, to have 
such a thing in hope, to make one in that glorious, celestial 
community, among whom, the blessed eternal God shall, 
by immediate communication, be all in all to every one ! 
Every soul as full of God, as it can hold, and be made ca- 
pable of beholding unspeakably more, than we can now so 
much as conceive of; for the design is in our present state, 
(and very much by the influence of hope,) here to have us 
refining, and be made more capacious and larger vessels of 
glory. They that are to be vessels of mercy first, are to be 
vessels of glory afterwards ; here they are to be gradually 
greatened and enlarged, (and very much by the influence of 
hope,) in order to their being more receptive vessels, that 
they may hold more, and be capable of larger and fuller 
communications from that immense fulness, that fiUeth all 
in all. And hereupon, 

7. Consider the high satisfaction that every one of those 
blessed creatures must have in himself, for there is to be a 
glory revealed in us, (as a little above the text.) The con- 
text is full of accounts of the final object of our hopes, and 
gives us frequent occasion to consider what it imports^ and 
carries with it ; "I reckon that the suflTerings of this present 
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that 
shall be revealed in us." Every one of these glorious crea- 
tures, is to be glorious within. As it is said of the king's 
daughter, the spouse of Christ, " She is all glorious within." 
Psalm xlv. " She will J^e perfectly so ; for he gave himself 
for his church, to sanctify it, and to cleanse it, and to pre- 
sent it a glorious church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any 
such thing." Ephes. v, 25, 26, 27. And sanctification is 
implied to be the very beginning of that glory the founda- 
tion of it. That glory consists in perfect sanctification. 
He gave himself for it, to sanctify and make it a glorious 
church ; every one of it is then a glorious creature, and 
eternally glorious, by glory revealed in the divine image 
shining in him, in perfect and consummate glory. That 
image which stands all in knowledge, and holiness, in the 
greatest amiableness, loveliness, and love that is possible. 

How infinitely satisfying must such an one's own frame^ 

s EH. XXV.) Glorious employ of Heaven. - 349 

and the complexion and temper of his own mind, be to 
himself, when, through a boundless and immense eternity, 
one shall never have [occasion to reflect upon one disor- 
derly thought, or say I wish that thought had never been 
thought; never have occasion to reflect upon one irregular 
wish ! Oh ! the holy order and rectitude that will be 
within, when every faculty and every power shall be un- 
der the dominion of that Almighty Spirit of divine light 
and grace ; when it shall be as impossible to be the author 
of one wrong, or misplaced thought, as it would be to any 
of us to be the author of another world, of a world that 
should be excentrical to this ! What a satisfaction is this, 
and must be, wlien a person shall so everlastingly agree 
with himself, as to have no war within him, nothing of re- 
luctation, nothing of contrariety, against what he knows to 
be equal, and congruous, and fit, and comely ; but every 
thing just as it should be. And then, thereupon, 

8. The mighty complacency that such must take in one 
another ; the everlasting complacencies that they must 
take in one another, when they are all alike, not equal ; it 
is plain enough there will be different orders; but all alike, 
all of one mind, all of one sentiment, all conspiring in one 
and the same design. And then consider, 

9. The pleasantness of their perpetual work, wherein 
they are all to be united ; to wit, joyful and everlasting 
adoration; everyone pleased with another, upon this ac- 
count, that he knows him to be pleased with exalting God 
and the Lamb, for ever, and ever; when every one knows 
his fellow to have the same pleasure that he hath in pros- 
tration, in falling down before the throne, in ascribing all 
praise, and dominion, and glory, to him that lives for ever, 
and ever; the eternal Godhead, Father, Son, and Spirit. 
When the comeliness and equity of the thing recommends 
itself so fully to every mind, and all agree in one sense. 
** Worthy art thou, O Lord, to receive blessing, and power, 
and dominion, for ever, and ever," and all say Amen, all 
proclaim their joyful Amen. The vast and spacious hea- 
vens continually resounding with this sort of melody, all 
giving their joyful, grateful Amens, to one and the same 
thing. And this eternity goes on, never wearisome, never 
grievous ; because all this employment, and the exercise is 
so suitable to the complexion of every one's mind, none 
can ever disagree to it, and all things do conspire, and con- 
cur to make these associates in bliss, and glory, and adora- 
tion, the most grateful company to one another. We ex- 


perience something what pleasure and sweetness there is 
in conversing with such as are wise, and learned, and good, 
when these things are in conjunction ; but when they are 
in perfection, in absolute perfection. Oh, the pleasure that 
will be taken in being associated with such ones ! Lastly, 

10. The perfect assurances that all have of the perpetuity 
of their state, and that there shall never be an end of it. 
" The light afflictions that are but for a moment work out 
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ;" it 
can never lose its weight ; there will be no detraction, no 
diminution from it, to eternity. Therefore there is an im- 
possibility, an^utter impossibility that ever there should be a 

And that is one direction to this purpose, to keep alive 
this hope, contemplate much, and as distinctly, and with as 
clear and formed thoughts as you can, the glorious object 
of it, the final and eternal state ; and be ashamed of having 
such things in view, and of having so few, so unfrequent, 
and dull, and sluggish, thoughts about such things. 


Romans, viii. 24. 
TVe are saved hy hope. 

But now go on with the further directions that are to be 
given for the mentioned end. 

Direction 2. That we compare with that expected hea- 
venly state the present state wherein we are; and with the 
blessedness of the one, the wretchedness of the other. For 
if there be any ground for a better hope, there is nothing 
more likely to awaken it, (supposing we have such a ground 
before our eyes,) than to have our spirits effectually stung 
with the sense of the present evils wherewith we are beset, 
and with which we are continually infested. If we like 
our present state well, there is no place for hope, no room 
for it, or if it can have any place, it can have no effect ; 

* Preached, October 25, 1691. 

SER. xxYi.) Hope inspires longing to depart. 351 

it will be a very faint, languishing hope, that we shall have 
for another state, if we are very well pleased with that 
wherein we are already ; and therefore, as to our present 
state, we should bethink ourselves, and consider, whether, 
having such a future one in view as hath been represented 
already, as the ultimate, final object of our hope, we have 
reason to take up with that wherein we already are. 

And this we are manifestly led to by the context, which, 
when the text tells us, " We are saved by hope," doth 
conjunctly tell us, what the present state of our case is, in 
a twofold respect ; in respect of this world, in which we 
live ; and in respect of these bodies, to which we are now 
confined. The former whereof draws our thoughts to con- 
sider the remoter evils which do beset us ; and the latter, 
those nearer and more pressing evils which are closely and 
continually urgent upon us. 

1. In reference to the state of this world, can we think it 
a covetable thing, long to continue in such a world as this, 
when we have any ground in view, of a better hope, or the 
object of a better, represented to us ? See how the state 
of the world is represented in what goes before, and which 
the text refers unto, that is,the creature (this inferior creation 
it must mean) is all subjected unto vanity, and is all groaning 
under the bondage of corruption, and travailing in pain 
together, until now. This being the case in this respect, 
saith the Apostle, " We are saved by hope." We are here 
ingulphed in a world of miseries and sorrows ; and all 
things round about, they are (as it were) in one degree, or 
another, under a pressure and languor; do not we behold 
the creation drooping ? This lower world in which we are, 
may be seen (as it were) hanging the head, that a languish- 
ment is upon all things, the shadow of death hovering over 
all in every part, and yet subjected unto this state in nope ; 
hope being in reference to the inanimate or irrational 
part to be understood but objectively. It is subjected to 
this state of things, but in hope ; there being a prospect 
that it shall be redeemed, shall be recovered, so as to 
partake of the glorious liberty of the sons of God, whose 
manifestation doth approach. Now, when all this world is 
hoping for a better state of things, shall not we hope ? We 
that have received the first fruits of the Spirit, as it after- 
wards follows : or. what? is impurity, misery, and wretch- 
edness, become so much our element, that we are content 
to live still there, whilst all things are (as it were) express- 
ing a sense round about us, groaning and travailing; and 


we pleased) we only pleased, to remain in such a state as 
this is ? But to look upon the state of things in this world, 
more particularly. 

(1.) We find it replenished with inhabitants, over whom, 
Satan hath universal dominion ; he is called the god ot" 
this world, (the usurping god of it,) the " spirit that works 
in the hearts of the children of disobedience." 2 Cor. iv. 6, 
and Eph. ii. beginning ; as you know the scripture speaks 
in those places I refer unto. This is that which puts the 
world into paroxysms every where; it is under the power 
of the great destroyer, the Abaddon, the Apollyon, he, 
whose business it is to destroy, to tear all to pieces, as much 
as in him is. And hence, by consequence, 

(2.) We find this world to be replenished with inhabitants 
full of atheism, and enmity against their Sovereign, and 
rightful Lord. All affecting to be without God in the 
world. And, 

(3.) They are full of all unrighteousness, malignity, deceit, 
envy, wrath, as experience shews, from age to age, and 
from generation to generation ; and never more than in 
this age. A world replenished with inhabitants, that are 
tearing one another to pieces every where, as they can have 
opportunity ; such an account as is given of the inhabitants 
or this world, (Rom. i. latter end,) how exactly doth it suit 
the present state of things ? And indeed, the ordinary state, 
more or less, in all times and ages ? And again, 

(4.) They are still more liable to disturbance from it, who 
would have least to do with it; to wit, those that are most 
intent upon wickedness, every where are most mischievous 
to them who have any savour or impression of goodness 
upon them, so that it is to them that are such a very hell. 
It is to themselves very much their own element. The 
world is such as they make it themselves, and in very great 
'part affect to have it ; but to them that have received an 
impression from above, and are begotten with a principle 
that suited them to be inhabitants of another world, it is of 
all others most troublesome, mischievous, and disquieting, 
to them ; and therefore, they of all others have much the 
more reason to be weary of it, and to cherish the hope 
(when they have any ground for it) of being in a better 
state, a better world, ere it be long. And if we lastly con- 

(5.) The dreadful ruin that will befal this world, in the 
tract of time, and before a perfectly good state can obtain 
or have any place; now much soever things may be better 

SER. XXVI.) Hope of the resurrection of the body. Sr^S 

in the meantime ; yet there is an universal ruin to be before 
there can be a perfect and thorough restoration. And the 
world is groaning, and travailing in pangs, and will be, 
more or less so, even to that end, that consummation of 
things, that day, when all is to be (as it were) purged with 
fire, " and pass away with a great noise." " When the hea- 
vens shall be rolled up as a scroll, (these lower heavens,) and 
the elements melt with fervent heat, and the earth, with all 
things therein, be consumed and burnt up." 2 Peter iii. 
Notwithstanding all such ruin, we look ^' for a new hea- 
vens, and a new earth;" according to God's own promise, 
we look for new heavens, and a new earth, a new universe 
(as it were) composed, and made up of heaven and earth, 
wherein righteousness shall dwell. Now the wretched state 
of things, in the meantime, should mightily sublimate, and 
heighten, and invigorate the hope of that glorious state, 
that is to be expected afterwards. And then, if we con- 

2. The nearer, and more closely pressing evils that are 
upon us, as we are in such bodies, as these we do now in- 
habit, and dwell in, even that shQuld mightily enliven hope, 
and put it upon a more vigorous exercise, for those are the 
evils that we are stung with continually ; and to these we 
find there is a more immediate reference, in what goes be- 
fore the text, not only they, (the rest of the creation which 
are, by an elegant rhetorical prosopopeia, represented as 
having sense, and having hope; a sense of the present evils, 
and a hope of a better state, not only they,) " but we our- 
selves also (verse 23,) who have received the first fruits of 
the Spirit ; even we ourselves, groan within ourselves, wait- 
ing for the adoption ; to wit, the redemption of our bodies ; 
for we are saved by hope." These are the next following 
words : not only they, not the rest of the creation only ; 
but we ourselves also, (much more, it must be understood,) 
who have received the first fruits of the Spirit, do groan, 
waiting for the adoption, that is, the manifestation of the 
sons of God, mentioned before in the 19th verse, when our 
adoption shall be declared, when the sons of God shall look 
like themselves, and like their Father, whereas now they 
look very unlike him. It is as if the Apostle had said. Do 
you think they shall always dwell so meanly as now they 
do ? No ; they are waiting for the adoption. What is that ? 
To wit, the redemption of the body; the time when their 
bodies shall be redeemed from under all the evils by which 
they are now, continually, from time to time infested, and 

VOL. VIll. 2 A 


by which, they are debased, and made mean, and vile, as 
they are called ** vile bodies," Phil. iii. 28, or the bodies of 
our humiliation. As ilhe should have said. What ? Do you 
think that the sons of God, when they are manifested, and 
declared to be his sons, shall dwell so meanly as now they 
do, in such cottages as these, such vile bodies as these ? No ; 
we groan within ourselves, (under the present pressures, 
while we are in these bodies,) waiting for the adoption ; to 
wit, the redemption of our bodies from under all those evils 
that make them so mean and inglorious things, and so un- 
suitable to the state of the sons of God. And if we con- 
sider those nearer evils, which partly we suffer in these 
bodies, that is, whereof they are the immediate subjects, 
and which partly we suffer by our being in them, they ought 
to have that pungency with them to our sense, as to awaken 
hope in us, if there be any such thing, and if we have any 
ground of it in view. 

1. For the former sort of these evils, which we suffer in 
these bodies, to wit, which they themselves are the imme- 
diate subjects of; truly, while we have the prospect of a 
better state than that, and the hope of it in view, it is mean, 
and vile, and unworthy, not to have that hope of it live, 
and be often exc|*fl|d, and raised up in us; for what infirm 
things are these bi^ies ? How much infirmity do they suf- 
fer in themselves ? How are these earthly tabernacles shat- 
tered from day, to day ? Shaken with agues, burnt with fevers, 
drowned with dropsies, harrassed and torn in pieces with 
stones, stranguaries,cholics, and such kindof painful diseases ? 
Though these are lesser things, they are not nothing. The 
sons of God are to wait in hope, and with groans, (groans 
full of hope, not of despair,) for the adoption; that is, the 
redemption of these bodies, and are in great part to be saved 
by this hope; it is the hope of a better state, even in this 
respect, which must draw us off from the present bodily 

What we feel is not enough, if we do not hope too, for 
though we feel very great grievances and pressures in 
these bodies, which they themselves are the immediate 
subjects of; yet, notwithstanding, we are so much naturally 
in love with this flesh, and this bodily state, that we shall 
rather endure all this, than change, if we have not a better 
hope in view; if our souls be not erected, and raised up 
within us, to consider. What ! 1 was not made for an eternal 
inhabitation in such a body as this; and though 1 am to 
be patient of an abode in it, I must not be fond of it ; I must 

SER. XXVI.) The influence of the hodif on the mind. 355 

endure it, but not take pleasure in it, when I know it be- 
longs to me as an inheritance ; and as I am an adopted one, 
one of God's sons, to be otherwise provided for, in point of 
habitation hereafter. " We know, that if this earthly house 
oi' our tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of 
God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the hea- 
vens ;" and therefore " we groan within ourselves, not to 
be unclothed, but clothed upon." They are not so mueli 
groans of sense, as of hope : though they are excited, and 
raised by sense at first, they are heightened and improved 
by hope. If it were not for hope, we should groan like 
beasts under such a burden ; but when we have so great 
hope in view before us, that doth quite change the nature 
of these groans, and maketh them, not only rational, but 
holy ones; groans of men, and groans of saints, to wit, for 
such a bodily state, or such a state, as to these bodies, as 
wherein we shall be more capable of serving and enjoying 
the blessed God for ever, the great object of our worship 
and hope. But then, 

2. For the evils which we suffer by our being in these 
bodies, they are of a far higher nature than those that we 
suffer immediately in them, or whereof they are the imme- 
diate subjects themselves. How mighty an influence hath 
the very temper of these bodies upon our minds, to pervert, 
corrupt, and deprave them, to bring in upon us, and to con- 
tinue and renew from time to time in us, whatsoever is 
most pernicious and prejudicial to the nature, and the 
proper, and the genuine operations of an intelligent, im- 
mortal spirit. For, 

(1.) It is by our being in these bodies, that our minds are 
diverted from those noble employments and exercises, 
wherein we should be continually taken up about higher 
things; these very bodily senses, which let in divine light 
and glory upon us, let in vanity, and befool and betray us 
from day to day; so that we have cause to complain, (as a. 
worthy person whom I knew did,) Oh ! how ai-e we deaf- 
ened by these ears of ours ? and how are we blinded by 
these eyes of ours .'' that we cannot hear the voice of God 
calling us to heaven, to his eternal kingdom and glory ; 
that we cannot behold the divine light that shines through 
all things ! How are we, by these very senses of ours, 
made insensible, may we truly say? To our very tastes, the 
best and most valuable things are rendered tasteless, and 
without savour and relish to'us. This is what we do imme- 
diately owe to these very bodies, and our bodily abode, 

2 A 2 


our being confined for this time to these bodies. And 

(2.) Not only are our minds diverted, but darkened by an 
influence from these very bodies, in very great measure, so 
as that all our apprehensions of things, which are of a 
spiritual and divine nature, they have a terrene tincture 
upon them; our thoughts are gross, our conceptions are 
carnal, they smell and savour of the earth in which we 
dwell, and which makes up our house and habitation for 
us, incloseth these intelligent, immortal spirits of ours. 
While it encloses them, it imparts a terrene tincture to 
them, and makes all our thoughts and conceptions of 
things gross, earthly, and carnal, like themselves, in which 
these souls of ours are rather indeed prisoners than inhabi- 
tants. And, 

(3.) Hence it is also, that our affections become alienated 
from divine and spiritual things, and in so great a measure, 
dead to them. The things of this earth we can savour, bo- 
dily things we can affect, we can love them, we can desire 
them, we can delight in them ; but things that are of a 
divine and heavenly nature, towards these we are all dead* 
A total death passeth, and binds every affection of our 
souls, till divine grace comes to shew what miracles it can 
work. Saith God, I can make a clod of clay love me, I 
can put the tincture of heaven even upon earth itself. Till 
(I say) a divine, almighty power be exerted, every thing 
that is of a spiritual and heavenly nature will be disaffected 
perpetually by us. I can taste no sweetness in any such 
thing, might the poor soul be forced to say, even from its 
own continual experience, and often renewed trials of it- 
' self. They that are after the flesh, will only savour the 
things of the flesh, and not the things of the Spirit : and it 
is only the exertion of Almighty power, by the Divine Spirit, 
that gives victory to our spirits, so as that they shall not be 
always under the dominion of the fleshly principle; where 
these spirits come to recover their own dominion, where 
light, and reason, and judgment, come to be efficacious, 
and to have their proper power and government restored. 

It is by the influence of the Divine Almighty Spirit, that 
any are regenerated into this state, otherwise we should be 
mere compositions of flesh, and nothing else, as is expressed 
concerning the state of unregenerate men, compared with 
the state that they are brought into by regeneration. " That 
which is born of the flesh, is flesh ;" (speaking of whole hu- 
man nature,) it is but flesh ; " but that which is born of the 

SKR. XXVI.) The contrary propensities of mind and body. 357 

Spirit, is spirit." John iii. 6. There is nothing in us (as it 
were) that doth deserve the name of spirit, till such time as 
the regenerating power of the Divine Spirit comes to be 
exerted, and put forth in us : that, indeed, will create some- 
thing in us that is fit to be called spirit. " That which is 
born of the Spirit, is spirit :" there is spirit producing, and 
spirit produced ; otherwise, and not till then, a man deserves 
to be called nothing but a lump of flesh, and so towards 
•things that are spiritual and divine, there is no inclination 
at all. But then, 

(4.) There is strong and unitive propension in these souls 
of ours, and by their abode in this flesh, to those things that 
are terrene and carnal, of a nature like their own. And 
that completes the wretchedness of our case, that to all 
things that are most suitable to us, we are dead ; but to 
those that are most unsuitable, and farthest beneath us, to 
them only we live, to them we are alive: and it is a mira- 
culous work of divine power and grace to. make it be 
otherwise with us, while we are in these bodies. This is 
that which is certainly to be considered by us with the bit- 
terest regret. Have 1 that afl'ection in my nature, that is 
capable of being placed upon God, upon heaven, and upon 
unseen glory? And what? Is it drawn down by this bodily 
abode, and union with this body, to terrene and earthly 
things ? Into what agonies should it put us to think of this ? 
Have I that love in my nature, that is capable of uniting 
to my highest and best good, and instead of that, doth it 
only unite me with a clod, with a piece of clay, with 
this base and impure earth ? How unsuff"erable a thing, how 
little to be be borne by them, who understand themselves, 
to be born of God! and who, though they are to live 
awhile in these bodies, yet it is but a life that hovers con- 
tinually upon the shadow of death, a kind of dying life, 
they are (as it were) between death and life. Life there is, 
and that life, if it be, or wherever it is, will commence, will 
be eternal life at length. But in what a faint image, in 
the mean time, and in what a continual struggle, so that 
there is always reason for those outcries, " Oh, wretched 
men that we are ! who shall deliver us from the body of this 
this death ?" That pathetical self-bemoaning of the Apostle 
suits our common case, though we have not that sense of 
it, that he expresseth, Rom. vii. 24. 

Now mark the connection. What we have hinted to us of 
this sad present state of our case, doth immediately precede 
here. We are groaning with the rest of a groaning world, 

2 A 3 


that are all in travailing pangs, being subjected in hope unto 
vanity, and corruption, and bondage. " We also that have 
received tbefirst fruits of the Spirit," we are groaning too, 
with the rest of the world, " waiting for the adoption, the re- 
demption of the body," when we shall dwell like the children 
of God. It is our consideration of the wretchedness of our 
present case, in these respects, that must awaken hope in 
us, and make the exercise of it more lively and vigorous: 
that the being gradually habituated to so low, and mean, 
and abject a state as this is, may not quite sink us, as it 
must do, if hope be not kept alive, and maintained in us; an 
hope, that though things are in these respects very sad and 
grievous, yet they shall be better ; the case shall be mended ; 
we shall be in a better world, and in better bodies than 
than these are; bodies that shall have more favourable in- 
fluences upon intelligent minds and immortal spirits, or 
less noxiousness than these bodies have. 

That is the^ second direction ; with the representation 
which we have of the heavenly state, let us consider and 
inspect the wretchedness of our present state on earth, as 
we dwell in this lower world, and as we dwell in such bodies ' 
as these that we now inhabit. And, 

Direction 3. That this hope may be cherished, and kept 
alive in us, to our actual salvation, let us carefully avoid 
unsuitable and unscriptural, horrid thoughts of God, upon 
whom this hope of ours must terminate. Nothing will so 
depress and stifle this hope, upon the influence whereof so 
much depends, as to have black, and dark, and horrid 
thoughts of God, beyond and contrary to what his own 
representation of himself in his word gives ground for. 
Now nothing is more natural than, 

1. For persons that are yet altogether in their sins, im- 
pure creatures throughout, to represent to themselves an 
impure deity. Nor again, 

2. Is there any thing more natural, when souls begin 
to be a little awakened, and stirred to mind their own 
concernments, than to entertain and admit thoughts of an 
horrid and dreadful being, which they put the name of God 
upon, and which (as they know God is to be the object of 
their worship) they clothe with such apprehensions of him, 
as makes their worship savour of nothing else but a kind of 
dread, that always possesses their spirits, so as that they 
worship only like slaves; not like the children of God, not 
like his sons, but as those that are afraid of a tormenting 
lash perpetually ; that are allured by no love, no goodness, 

SER. XXVI.) The duty of loving vur oku suu/s. 351) 

no kindness, no apprehension of his love. And nothing 
doth more directly tend to destroy the hope that should be 
in us, and whereby we are to live* 

And pray do but consider this one passage, " Be not 
thou a terror to me ; thou art my hope in the evil day." 
Jer. xvii. 17. I only note it to shew the inconsistency of 
these two things, God's being a terror to us, and his being 
our hope. While we make him a terror to ourselves, we 
cannot make him our hope : the prophet prayeth, " Be not 
a terror to me," for then my hope in thee is lost, thou art 
to be my only hope in an evil day. And what will become 
of me, if he that is to be my hope, should be my terror? 
and if that be a thing so much to be deprecated, that God 
do not make himself a terror to us, truly it ought to be 
avoided, our making him a terror to ourselves; and for the 
same reason ; because he is our only hope, and he cannot 
be our hope, while he is a terror to us. And then. 

Direction 4. The next direction will be, that which I 
hinted at the last time, and I told you upon what occasion, 
to wit, that we maintain in ourselves a just love to our own 
souls, and a desire of their salvation. This the series of the 
discourse naturally leads to; and I have found it necessary 
to speak very distinctly to it, as having met with bills, once 
and again, that suggest this case ; a fear tbat all that is done, 
in a way of obedience, should be from a motive of self-love, 
and a desire and design of their own salvation ; and not so 
principally, for the glory of God therein. JNow what I shall 
say to this, will lie under these two general heads. 

1. To evince to you, from the ground in the text, (''We 
are saved by hope,") that there ought, and must be in us a 
principle of self-love, to wit, love to our own souls main- 
tained, and kept in exercise all along. And, 

2. I shall say somewhat to the doubt, and shew whether 
this self-love be the principal mover, yea or no, of hope in 
these souls ; or how they may yet discern that it is not the 
principal mover. For the 

1. That there ought to be such a principle of love to our 
own souls, that must be exercised in us, through the whole 
of our course, upon the very ground here expressed in the 
text, that " We are saved by hope," consider the following 

( 1 .) If there be not such a love to our own souls, that shall 
put us upon this earnest desire and endeavour of their salva- 
tion, there can be no hope of it ; for there is no hope of 
that, which we desire not. What a man desires not, he 

2 A 4 



cannot hope for; therefore hope with reference to the busi- 
ness of our salvation, would be simply impossible, naturally 
impossible, if there were no such love to ourselves, or to 
our own souls, as should make us to desire salvation ; for 
that which we desire not, it is naturally impossible we 
should hope for. And, 

(2.) Supposing such love to ourselves as should make us 
desire our own salvation were an unlawful thing, it would 
by consequence make the hope of our salvation an unlaw- 
ful thing too : and so to say, we are to be saved by hope, 
were to be saved by a sin, and the whole business of our 
salvation were to be carried on continually by a continued 
sin, through the whole of our course; than which, you may 
easily apprehend, nothing could be imagined or spoken 
more absurd. 

(3.) We are bound to endeavour, in hope, the preservation 
of the health and life of these bodies: and much more are 
we to endeavour, in hope, the eternal life and salvation of 
our souls. 

(4.) We should in our whole course (if we should make it 
our business to suppress such desire and hope as this) coun- 
teract the law of our own nature; and we must know the 
law of our own nature is God's own law : he that is the 
Author of our nature is the Author of the law of nature; 
and there is no principle more natural to us than love of 
ourselves. And, 

(5.) We should not only contradict the law of original na- 
ture, but we should act against the continual dictates of 
the new nature, wherein the principle of this self-love is a 
governing thing. " He that is born of God, keepeth him- 
self, that the evil one toucheth him not." 1 John iii. 18. 
He loves his own life, is careful for his own life; he keep- 
eth himself, that he may avoid mortal touches from the evil 
one, who is continually seeking to destroy that precious life, 
that is now from God himself sprung up in the soul, and 
in respect whereof he is now said to be born of God. And 

(6.) It were quite to subvert the whole gospel constitution, 
which doth apply itself directly to the principle of self-love 
in the whole dispensation of it, as supposing that natural 
to men, and that they should be unnatural, and monsters 
towards themselves, if they act not according to it. What 
mean all the gospel invitations, and promises, and threaten- 
ings, but to apply themselves immediately and directly to 
the principle ot self-love in men, apprehending that they 

SEH. XXVI.) Whether self-love he predominant. 3G1 

should have some regard to themselves, and to the concern- 
ments of their own souls ? It siipposeth this, when our 
Lord breathes forth such sweet and alluring invitations as 
those ; " Come unto me, all ye that are weary, and heavy 
laden, and 1 will give you rest." Matt. xi. latter end. 
What would that signify, if a man were not to desire rest 
for his own soul, and life and blessedness for his own soul ? 
" Ho ! every one that thirsteth, come and drink of the wa- 
ter of life; incline your ear, and come unto me, hear, and 
your souls shall live; and I will make with you an everlast- 
ing covenant, even the sure mercies of David." Isaiah Iv. 
1. What would all this signify, if I were not to take care 
for, and desire the life of my own soul ? And so also all the 
threatenings of the gospel were lost upon men, if they 
were to have no dread of perishing; and no hope, no desire, 
of being eternally saved. " He that believeth, hath ever- 
lasting life; but he that believeth not, shall not see life, but 
the wrath of God abideth on him." All these were thrown 
away upon them, who were not to allow themselves, either 
in a desire or dread, in reference either to the death or life 
of their souls. But then, 

2. To answer the doubt, I will only say these things very 
briefly to you ; that is, whether self-love be the predomi- 
nant principle, so that any have reason to think all their 
obedience proceeds from self-love, more than from a desire 
of God's being glorified in their salvation. Why, 

(1.) I would desire such to consider, that the blessedness 
of heaven doth very principally lie in perfect sinlessness, in 
being perfectly free from sin. And so, in being as perfectly 
like God, as we are capable : "We shall be like him, for we 
shall see him as he is." 1 John iii. 2. That implies perfect 
sinlessness ; consider that in the first place. And, 

(2.) Sin is the only thing by which God can be dishonour- 
ed. *' In breaking the law, dishonourest thou God." Rom. 
ii. 13. He can be dishonoured by nothing but sin. And, 

(3.) Let such consider, do they desire perfect sinlessness ? 
yea or no : and let them deal faithfully with their souls in 
that particular. Do I desire to be perfectly free from sin? 
or do 1 hate every thing of sin, so as to long for nothing 
more, than perfectly to be free from it ? Let their own 
conscience give an answer to them concerning this, whether 
they can sincerely say, they do desire nothing so much as 
perfect freedom from sin ; they do desire to be rid of that, 
by which alone they do dishonour God. And you must 
know, that sin, in the very nature of it, is more dishonour- 


able to Godj than it can be hurtful unto them: it is botli 
dishonourable to God and hurtful to us ; but the principal 
thing is a dishonour to God, as it is against him first. It is 
against us but secondarily, and in the lowest place. Let 
them then bethink themselves; suppose sin did not hurt 
me, yet do I not hate it, and do not 1 desire to be perfectly 
free from it, as a thing that dislionours God, and as it in- 
clines me to dishonour him? And it is an uncreaturely 
thing, as it is a vile thing, to have that in me whicli is an op- 
position and contrariety in its own nature to the Best of 
beings, the most perfect and most excellent of beings. 
And then, 

(4.) That the blessedness of heaven further lies in the 
soul's entire satisfaction, and acquiescence in God, which is 
the thing we mean by enjoying him. Fruition is the soul's 
rest. The blessedness of the heavenly state lies in the soul's 
perfect rest and acquiescence in God, as the best and most 
satisfying good. And hereby it is plain, that we honour 
him the most that we are capable of doing, for if the soul 
do perfectly rest satisfied in God, as the best and most ex- 
cellent good, we do thereby voluntarily acknowledge him 
in the most significant (to wit, in a practical) way, to be, 
(what really he is, as he is God,) the best good, the most 
comprehensive, and the most absolutely perfect good. The 
soiil doth most honour him, in enjo^nng him, more than it 
is capable of doing any other way ; for my continual enjoy- 
ing him, to wit, my continual rest and satisfaction in him, 
as the best good, is my practical owning him as such. And 
that is honouring him, when I draw off from all things else, 
and say, You are not good enough, you have not that excel- 
lency in you that is suited to the nature, excellency, and ca- 
pacity of my soul. Then you betake yourself to God, and 
there you eternally acquiesce, and take up your satisfaction 
and rest. This is to confess, actually and practically, that 
he is all that, which ail the creation besides is infinitely 
short of to you. And so to do, is to glorify and honour 
him, the most that you are capable of as creatures. In our 
enjoying him, we glorify him most. And then, lastly, 

(5.) As that which is so clear and sure (as I think) to put 
all out of doubt, if any can say that they hate sin, as the 
worst of all evils that can exist, or be in being ; and do 
love God as the best of all good, as can also exist, and be 
in being : this hatred of sin as the worst evil, and this love 
of God as the best and highest good, must proceed from 
the operation of his own Spirit; none could ever hate sin 

sER. xxYi.) Love to God and ourselves aomtcctcd. 3t)3 

as the worst of evils, and love God as tlie best of goods, 
but by the peculiar operation of the Holy Ghost. Now if 
the Holy Ghost does produce these great effects in any, 
)'ou may be sure he can do God no wrong in these produc- 
tions of his : he governs his own productions equally. The 
Spirit of God can never be the author of any one's doing 
God wrong. That you should desire a good for yourself, 
more than for glory to him, when such operations in you, 
as hatred of sin, and love of God, do proceed from his own 
Spirit, that Spirit will never be the author of irregular mo- 
tions, so as that you should desire your own felicit}^ more 
than the glory of God. 

And, therefore, though these things lie mixed in you, 
there is love to God, and love to yourselves: and there 
ought to be both, but you cannot tell which is predomi- 
nant, by an immediate inspection and view of the effects; 
look to your cause, and these effects could proceed from 
no other cause, but the operation of the Divine Spirit; that 
is, you could never hate sin, but from the Spirit of God. 
\ou find that you do hate it, but you do not know whether 
it be because it is most dishonourable to God, or because it 
is hurtful to you : yet, I say, your hatred of it proceeds 
from the Spirit of God. And again, you do love God, but 
so love yourselves, and your own salvation, that you have 
one interest in the matter: you love him, in order to your 
enjoyment of him; you love him, in order to your fruition 
of him, which is a good to yourselves, and so it ought to 
be. But you know not which desire is more predominant, 
which you desire or covet more, that you may be happy, or 
God be glorified in your fruition of him ; I say, this su- 
preme love to God is not the work of your own spirit, you 
could not love God above all, (if it were even for your own 
enjoyment of him only,) but by the help of his Spirit, And 
the Spirit of God, when that is immediately at work, will 
be sure to do right between him and you. It will not let 
you love yourselves more than God, when that love is the 
immediate production of that Spirit, living and acting in 
you. And we can be surer of nothing than we are of this, that 
tRere can be no hatred of sin, as the worst of evils, nor love of 
God, as the best of goods, but from the Divine Spirit. And 
if it be from a Divine Spirit, that Spirit will not be the au- 
thor of so irregular a motion in us, that we should design 
ourselves, more than liim, in these things. . And so much I 
take to be exceeding clear and plain, in reference to this 
doubt ; and it is very unreasonable that any should trouble 


themselves much about it, but fall admiring and blessing 
God, that hath made them hate sin as the worst of evils, 
and a thing by which he is dishonoured ; and to love God as 
the best good, which is as inseparable from the eternal en- 
joyment of him, as that enjoyment is from their eternal 
adoring and glorifying of him in that state. There are 
many other directions remaining, but no more at present. 


ROMANS Vlll. 24. 

We are saved by hope. 

Now to go on, the next direction to be given is, 
Direction 5. Ponder well and thoroughly the capacities 
of your own natures. I know not what should do more to 
raise and cherish this hope in you, of which the text speaks^ 
for you have been told it doth not speak of hope, as hope ; 
to wit, all hope. There is an hope (as was said) that is so 
far from saving men, that it destroys them. There are many 
that are ruined, and not saved by their hope ; but it is the 
truly Christian hope terminating to the last end of it, in a 
glorious eternity that we are to be saved by ; that which is 
truly the hope of salvation, and which is spoken of under 
the notion of an helmet, the seat of counsel and design; 
and it is impossible there can be any design for salvation, 
without hope ; or indeed any design at all, whereof there 
is no hope; and therefore I say, in order to the heighten- 
ing, and improving of this hope, the truly Christian hope, 
it is of the greatest necessity and use imaginable, to study 
much the capacity of our own natures ; to wit, often to 
recount with ourselves, what is such a creature as 1, an hu- 
man creature, capable of? What are the limits and bounds 
of my capacity, the capacity of my nature ? 

Nothing will be plainer, (if it be considered,) than that 
our natures are capable of greater, and more enduring 
things, than ordinarily we employ our minds about. The 
usual exercise of our minds is far from reaching the capa- 

• Preached November 8, 1691. 

SER. XXVII.) Study the capacities of human nature. 3()5 

city of our natures : from any body that allows himself to 
think, this acknowledgment will be extorted, at the 
first sight or hearing, that spiritual things are greater 
more excellent, and more noble, than earthly and carnal 
things are. And do not we find there is a capacity in our 
natures of conversing with such things? Are our natures 
capable of conversing with nothing but earth and clay ? 
Can they look no higher ? Can we form no notions of ob- 
jects of a more noble and excellent kind ? 

And they are capable of more enduring things than we 
employ them about, that is, of eternal things ; nay, so far 
it is from us to be incapable of having any thought of eter- 
nal things, that if we could impose upon ourselves, we 
cannot possibly avoid that thought; our minds will run 
into an endless and eternal scheme, do we what we can ; 
that is, we cannot so much as by a thought fix to ourselves 
any utmost bounds, or periods of things; and therefore, 
our minds do naturally run into eternity. And more than 
that, we are not only capable of knowing much of spiritual, 
and eternal things, things that are more noble and excel- 
lent m their kind, and more lasting in duration, than the 
thmgs are which we commonly employ them about. 

But we are capable of understanding this higher and 
larger capacity; we are secretly conscious to ourselves, that 
there is nothing terrene and temporary, that can measure 
the capacity of our nature, and fill up, and correspond to 
It ; every man is conscious to himself of this, that allows 
himself to think ; we are not only capable of knowing that 
there are spiritual things above the sphere of sense, and 
eternal things above the bounds and limits of time; but we 
are capable of knowing that we know it; to wit, we are 
conscious to ourselves of the greater and larger capacity of 
our natures. "^ 

And that being supposed, truly it must be said of us, we 
know too much, to enjoy no more. If we are not to hope 
for more, we know too much ; we know that there is a 
glorious sphere of spiritual objects, that lie above the reach 
of our sense; we know there is an eternal state beyond the 
bounds and limits of time; and knowing this, we know too 
much, if we are not to hope for more. And if that indeed 
were the state of our case, that we are to hope for no more 
than what lies within the compass of our present state, it 
might make a mere philosopher to curse his nature, that 
ever it should be capable of prospect, that ever 1 was a 
creature capable of prospect, and yet so doomed and con- 


fined to the strait and narrow bounds of this base earth as 
to have nothing to enjoy, higher and greater, than this can 
aftord me. Study the capacity of your nature, and think 
with yourselves, this immortal mind and spirit that I have 
in me, is it to be supposed it could have been put into me 
only to sustain a mean, vile flesh, that after the greatest 
and utmost care, must at length rot in the dust ? Had I a 
reasonable immortal soul put into me, only to enable me to 
eat and drink, to please and indulge sense ? A brute is fur- 
nished for such purposes as these, as well as I. — What? 
Did I need a mind, an intelligent mind, an immortal mind, 
for such purposes as these ? 

A man may confirm it himself, that he is not in a dream 
about the larger capacity of his own nature; for when he 
finds he hath in him a mind, is that a dream ? Do not 1 
know, I can know ? Do not 1 understand, that 1 can un- 
derstand ? And that I have that in me that can think ? And 
I beseech you, what proportion is there between a thought, 
and a clod of clay ? 13etween a mind, and a piece of earth ? 
That the capacity of this mind should be filled up with any 
earthly thing, what proportion is there in that ? 

And then, that this mind of mine must be an immortal 
thing, and so exist in an eternal state; I cannot be in a 
dream about this; for I beseech you, what proportion is 
there between a thought and death ? Is it a likely thing, 
that a thing that can think, can die ? If I have that in me 
that can think, i have that in me that cannot die. 

And then, reckon it unworthy to hope beneath the ca- 
pacity of your nature ; to let 3'our ordinary hope, the hope 
that is to live in you, and guide your course, to let that 
(I say) sink beneath the capacity of your nature. And 

Direction 6. Consider much, the large and immense 
goodness and benignity of the divine nature; and do not 
think it agreeable to that, (as it is certain it cannot be,) 
that there should be such a sort of creatures endowed witli 
a spiritual, immortal mind, that should not be accommo- 
dated and suited with proportionable objects. Consider 
the goodness of God to this purpose, as it appears in other 
instances. You see that all other sorts of creatures he 
doth accommodate with suitable objects. Look to your- 
selves, consider his goodness to you in other respects all your 
time hitherto. He is that God (as good Jacob when dying 
said) <' tiiat hath fed me all my life;" through him you were 
born, and through him you have lived ; did he give you the 

SER. xxyii.) Study the goodness of the Divine Nature. 367 

appetite of meat and drink, and hath he not given you 
meat and drink too ? If he hath given you faculties in your 
inferior nature, he hath assigned you their particular suit- 
able objects. And do you think that if he hath given you 
also rational and immortal minds, it could stand with so 
vast goodness, not to suit them with proportionable objects 
too ? Is that like his other methods i When the whole 
earth is full of his goodness, this region, this seat of apos- 
tacy, and wickedness, all the creatures looking up to him 
with craving eyes, and he satisfies them all : therefore it 
cannot be on his part that ever there should be such a flaw, 
such a defect, in the order of things in his creation, that he 
should have made an intelligent, immortal mind and spirit, 
and never have provided for it a suitable good, that may 
answer the capacity of his nature; and you already knovv, 
that there is no terrene, or temporary thing, that is a suit- 
able good to it. 

' And thence it cannot but be, (for the matter must not be 
refunded upon the Creator,) I say it cannot but be, that if 
souls be miserable, it must be by themselves ; their aver- 
sion from God, their refusal to return to him, their resist- 
ance of the methods he hath used for the gathering back of 
wandering souls : they will not return, they love earth and 
vanity more; and if this, indeed, be the habitual temper of 
any soul under that gospel, which is designed on purpose 
for recovering and reducing souls unto God, and this dis- 
affection of theirs cannot be overcome, this is the highest 
provocation that can be given to goodness itself; and 
goodness itself must most highly justify and gratify itself 
in the ruin of those souls, who have had the ofters made 
them of a suitable correspondent good, but Jived all their 
days, while here in the flesh, in the refusal, and contempt, 
and defiance, of these off"ers. And ag^in. 

Direction 7. Consider the confirmation that God hath 
so expressly given of his special good-will to his own, be, 
sides what may be collected of his common goodness to- 
wards tile generality of his creatures ; think how he has 
confirmed to them, that are become peculiarly his, his 
peculiar kindness, and favour; and their right and title to 
that heavenly inheritance which they are finally to hope 
for : he hath sundry ways confirmed it to them. 

1. By their regeneration; by which he hath in a great 
measure cured (to wit, in a prevalent degree) the depravity 
of their sensualized nature. And even in the work of rege- 
nerating them, begotten them to this very hope, or to the 


hope of this very state. " Blessed be the God and Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath begotten us again to a 
lively hope." 1 Peter i. 3. To what living hope, or the 
living hope of what ? Why, " of an inheritance incorruptible, 
and undefiled, reserved in heaven for us." It is true, you 
had a capacity in your natures, of higher, and greater 
things than this earth affords ; but what signified a mere 
natural capacity, that was overwhelmed with vicious inclina- 
tions when there was a capacity of greater things, but no 
habitude ? Bat now there is a gracious habitude in the 
work of regeneration, added to the natural capacity, which 
repairs the natural powers to those exercises, which that 
capacity comprehends and means. The understanding is, 
in some measure, rid of the cloudy darkness that hovered 
oft over it before : " The}' that were darkness" in this work 
of regeneration : are made "light in the Lord." Eph. v. 8. 
They are become light :— they were dead in trespasses and. 
sins ; here is a divine life made to spring up in them, that 
aims at God, that aims at heaven, that aims at immortal 
things ; and whatever is born, must be fed ; here is a new 
creature born, that cannot be fed at the common rate, how 
should this heighten, and raise hope ? 

2. He hath taken them into union with his own Son, 
who is the primary great heir, and in whose right they 
come to be sons, and so come to be heirs ; how should this 
raise hope in me? I am taken into union with the Son of 
God. If you receive him you are so ; that is the amplexus of 
the soul ; that faith by which the soul receives him, thereby 
it comes to be adjoined to him, and so to be invested se- 
condarily with his right. " To as many as received him, 
to them gave he power to become the sons of God." John 
i. 12. *' And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint 
heirs with Jesus Christ." If you share with him in the 
sonship, then you share with him in the inheritance too. 
You have a right, even as the sons of God, to this inherit- 
ance ; this heavenly state, in all the blessedness and glory 
of it belongs to 3^ou by right of inheritance ; or as you are 
heirs of it, " heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus 
Christ," and so you are to be glorified with him : and what ? 
Are you not to hope for your own inheritance ? That which 
doth belong to you by right of inheritance, are you not to 
live in the hopes of it ? And, 

3. There is God's special promise superadded to all this ; 
to wit, that he will give grace and glory; and that the 
things that " eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it 

SBR« XXVII.) Often renew your Covenant with God. 369 

entered into the heart of man to conceive, are all prepared 
for them that love him." And, 

4. He hath added his oath to his promise, that the heirs 
of promise might have strong* consolation from the two 
immutable things, the promise and the oath superadded, by 
which, it is impossible for God to lie. Heb. vi. 17, 18. 
And why should not hope live and flourish, in reference to 
this inheritance, the heavenly state you are linally to look 
for upon all this ? therefore, take tliat for a further direction, 
often to recount with yourselves the express confirmations 
and assurances, which God hath given of his special kind- 
ness to his own, and of their right to the heavenly inherit- 
ance. And again, 

Direction 8. Often renew your covenant with God, 
that so this hope may be cherished and live in you. Renew 
your covenant with God often, by which he becomes yours, 
and you his ; by which he once became so, that so you may 
have a constant, explicit notion, or apprehension of him, as 
such ; that you may not look towards him as a stranger, as 
an unrelated one. Tbere is nothing needful to make him 
yours, and you his, but this mutual agreement by covenant 
between him and you. The matter is unalterable on his 
part ; and you may be sure that nothing is more requisite 
on your part ; nothing can be more requisite, than that you 
often commune with yourselves about this matter j Do I 
stand to my covenant ? I once said I was Vvilling that God 
in Christ should be mine, and that I in Christ should be his; 
am I still willing? Do I stand to this, covenant with God 
in Christ; yea or no ? 

Then consider, whence are your expectations to be ? I am 
not to have my great expectations from a stranger, from a 
strange god, but from a God of my own. " This God is 
our God for ever and ever, and he that shall be our guide 
even unto death." Psalm xlviii. last verse. How great a 
thing is it to be able to say, " God, even our own God shall 
bless us." Psalm Ixvii. 6. Your hope will languish if you 
let the apprebension dwindle of the relation between God 
and you ; so that you look not towards him from day to 
day, and at all times, as a God related to you, upon the 
terms, and by the tenor, of an everlasting covenant ; how 
wisely will that man look about him in his wants, and in his 
languishings, that hath no one to expect help and relief 
from ? From one no more than from another ? That is, if 
all about him, or with whom lie is to expect, are equally 
strangers to \\\xq, and he can have no ojore e?cpectation 



from one than from another. To hear of the name of God, 
that he is a great God, a bouutiful God, and that there is 
an immense fidncss of goodness in him ; but what is that to 
me, when I have no concern with him, nor he with me ? But 
when you know, that there is northing requisite, to bring 
about a fixed relation between him and you, but your con- 
senting to the terms of his covenant ; " I entered into co- 
venant with thee, and thou becamest mine." Ezek. xvi. 8. 
If that be from time to time recognized, be made more and 
more explicit, then are you to walk in this sense from day 
to day. This God is my God, and I am his. And then what 
may you not hope for ? Wiiat may you not expect from 
him, in reference to present support, and final blessedness ? 
And again. 

Direction 9. Keep up a continual intercourse with God 
hereupon, walk with him if he be yours and you be his, and 
that is ascertained by a sure covenant often recognized j 
then accordingly, walk with him continually, keep up an 
intercourse by acts of reverence, and trust, and love, and 
subjection ; so is the intercourse to be kept up, for you 
must consider, it is not an intercourse inter pares, between 
equals ; but it is an intercourse between an all-sufiicient 
God, a self-sufficient God, a sovereign Lord and Ruler, and 
a mean indignant object, and (who ought to be) a subject 
creature ; and so only ought the intercourse to be kept up. 
" As the Father loveth me, so have I loved you : continue 
ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall 
abide in my love, even as 1 have kept my Father's com- 
mandments, and abide in his love." John xv. 9, 10. And so 
are we directed to keep ourselves in the " love of God." 
Jude, verse 21. This is the %vay to maintain hope, waiting 
for his mercy by Christ Jesus to life eternal. Be in his 
fear all the day long, keep your hearts in a subject frame 
and posture towards him; keep you in a depending frame; 
keep you in a complacential frame, always apt and ready 
to exert acts of love, kindness, and good-will towards God. 
Oh, that I could do more for thee ! I love thy name, thy 
honour, thy interest, thy presence, thy communion. In this 
way let intercourse with God be kept up, and so hope will 
flourish, will do its part towards the saving of you ; even 
the saving you out of the gulph in which you now lie, 
almost swallowed up, only to be saved by this hope, such 
an hope as is subservient and conducing thereunto. Again, 

Direction 10. If such an intercourse should be intermit- 
ted, (as can never be, but by slips and failings on your part,) 

SER. XXVII.) IValk more circumspectly. 3/1 

hasten the restoring of it. As you vaUie the life of your 
hope, and as you value the life of your souls, hasten the 
restoring of it. That is not to be borne, for one to .-ay, Now 
the intercourse ccascth betv.cen God and me; What? 
that there should be a discontinuance of my commerce 
with God, this is not to be borne. Oh ! hasten to get all 
rectified, and set aright, by renewed applications of the 
blood of Jesus; by speedy and serious turning to God with 
all the heart, and with all the soul. By any such more ob- 
servable slips hope hath got a wound, and it is to be healed, 
recovered, redintegrated, by such a return ; your return to 
God in Christ speedily and betimes. 

Directio)i 1 1 . After that walk more '^ circumspectly, not 
as fools, but as wise," as knowing you are to live and be 
saved by hope ; and your hope is to live, and be main- 
tained by your continual commerce with God. Walk accu- 
rately according to the gospel instructions ; to wit, accord 
ing to the instructions and teachings of appearing grace* 
The grace of God, that bringetb salvation, hath appeared, 
teaching us, what? that " denying ungodliness, and worldly 
lusts, we do live soberly, righteously, and godly in the 
present world;" and what is the consequent hereupon? 
" Looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing 
of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Now, as 
being taught effectually by the grace that hath appeared 
bringing salvation. Oh, deny " all ungodliness," and every 
thing of ungodliness ; deny it as an abhorred thing, as a 
most abominable thing. What ? Should I bear an ungodly 
frame of heart to him, whose grace hath appeared to save 
me ? And all " worldly lusts ;" shall worldly lusts rule in me, 
and govern me, who am a disciple of grace, and under the 
teachings of grace ? And it teaches me to live soberly, 
righteously, and godly. Oh ! let us comply with these 
teachings, when we see what will be the end of it, what 
will follow, then we shall live " looking for the blessed hope;" 
how reviving will our own hope be to us then ! How full 
of vigour, how full of sweetness, and how full of power, 
and life ! Every thought of that blessed state will even 
bless our souls, and make them flourish as a field that the 
Lord hath blessed. And, 

Direction 12. Converse much with them that have the 
same hope that you have. That is a very heart strengthen- 
ing thing, mightily animating, to have much conversation 
with them that will give you a reason of the hope that is in 
them, " with meekness and fear;" 1 Peter iii. IS. and tg 

2 B 2 


whom also, you may give a reason of the hope that is in 
you, with the same meekness, and the same fear. That is 
fruitful, edifying conTersation, to converse with them that 
will interchange accounts with you of the reason of their 
hopes, which you can give them, and they can give you. 
But if there be any that care not for that society, that can 
take a thousand times more pleasure to talk two or three 
hours over a glass of wine in a tavern, with impertinent, idle 
fellows, from whom there is nothing of good to be gotten j 
this is that they rather choose, which they can savour, can 
take complacency in ; but all discourses about God and 
the things of God, and the world to come, and the matters 
of an eternal hope, are unsavoury and unpleasant. If this 
be with any an habitual frame, from week to week, and 
from month to month, and from year to year, and yet they 
will tell you they hope to be saved ; oh ! the monstrous 
stupidity of these wretched souls! What are they sunk into, 
and that under this very gospel, which makes all things so 
very plain ! 

I tremble to think of the case of such, when they have 
nothing at all to keep off terrors from their hearts, but 
either a present peremptory refusal to think, I will think of 
no such thing ; or the vain hope of a death-bed repentance 
at last, that shall expiate for so sensual and unchristian a 
life. I tremble (1 say) to think what the case of such men 
will be at last. They may have some confidence in a death- 
bed repentance at a distance, while they put off from them 
the evil day j but that repentance may be far fled, removed, 
and hid from their eyes, when the dying hour is come, and 
when they are stretched out on the bed of sickness, and 
languishing. And will God overthrow his own design, 
merely to comply Avith the brutish inclination of this or of 
that man, when his design is to have a people in this world, 
that shall in their continual, holy, heavenly, conversation, 
testify against the wicked conversation of it ? But he shall 
dispense with them, and let them live like so many brutal 
sots all their days, and save them at last, because they say 
they will repent upon a dying bed j but how such will dare 
to die, God knows ; when in the mean time they hardly 
dare to come to an ordinance of God, but make all the 
shift they can, to avoid serious and searching preaching; 
and think it a great gain to them, if they can this or that 
day avoid a blow. Thou that hast lived so long in the in- 
dulgence of sensual and brutish inclinations, that art afraid 
to come to a sermon, or come to the I^ord's t^ble ; or the 

SEE. XXVII.) Take heed of Impatience, 373 

like guilt stares thee in the face ; how wilt thou not be 
afraid to die, and to appear at last before the tribunal of thy 
judge ? Will God alter his gospel for you, and doternnne 
that a man may live an earthly and carnal life in this world, 
and be saved at last; though he hath told us, that they who 
mind earthly things (the gust and relish of their souls lies 
there, they savour them), their end is destruction, and they 
are enemies to the cross of Christ? They covuiter design the 
end of Christ's dying, and so their end is destruction. And 
I add, 

Direction 13. Take heed of too impatient a sense of the 
tediousness of your expecting state, while you are expect- 
ing : we must be expectants here ; we are saved by hope. 
There needs a great deal of patience ; not only in order to 
bearing, but in order to expecting ; not only in order to 
the bearing of evil things, but in order to the expecting of 
good things : " ye have need of patience, that after ye have 
done the will of God, you might receive the promise." 
Heb. X. 36. And see what immediately follows the text; 
" We are saved by hope ; but hope that is seen, is not hope ; 
for what a man sees, why doth he yet hope for ? But if we 
hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for 
it:" so we read of " the patience of hope," 1 Thess. i. 3. 
as that Avhich the apostle blesscth God for, on the behalf 
of those Thessalonian Christians, having heard of their 
patience of hope, how cheerfully they did endure in an 
expecting state. And, 

Direction 14. Labour to fortify yourselves against the fear 
of death, that so your hope may live and flourish. That in- 
asmuch as the final object of your hope lies beyond time, 
and beyond this present world; it is a sad thing there 
should be that gulph between you and the last object of 
your hope, which you dare not shoot ; but are afraid of that 
which you supremely are to hope for. How very imcom- 
fortable a case is that, that the highest matter of your hope 
should be also the matter of your fear, the going into that 
estate wherein mortality is to be swallowed up of life ? 
What ? Are Ave afraid of becoming immortal ? To be an- 
gels' fellows, equal with the angels of God, gathered up to 
the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just 
men made perfect ? Are we afraid indeed of that which we 
are chiefly to hope for? Oh! labour to overcome that 
fear ; know that Christ died for this end, that you might do 
it. He was partaker of flesh and blood, he took a human 
body as we have here ; that " by death, he might destroy 


him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and de- 
liver them, who, through fear of death, were all their life- 
time subject unto bondage." 

It is not only an uncomfortable, and an unchristian, but 
it is an irrational thhig, and an unmanly thing, to live under 
the continual dominion and government of the fear of that 
which cannot be avoided. That is irrational ; no man can 
give account of his own reason, why he should do so. It is 
a scandal even to the reason of a man, to be engaged in a 
continual contest against impossibilities ; that wliich can- 
not be avoided, it is impossible I should avoid it. And to 
bj in a constant war with this, is what no man can recon- 
cile to his own understanding, if he do but use the under- 
standing of a man. 

And, therefore, there is nothing to be done in the case, 
but to fall into a speedy union with the great Prince and 
Lord of life, and then never fear death; that being the 
state of our case, that this death lies between us, and our 
great hope, our final hope : when we think Avhat we are to 
enjoy after death, one would go through a thousand deaths 
to enjoy that; and much more to die once to escape a thou- 
sand deaths. We die here every day; we ^re killed a thou- 
sand times over, from day to day, and from week to week ; 
and if we would die a thousand deaths that way, to avoid 
one death, sure we may die one death, which we are to 
suffer unavoidably, that we may enjoy what we are to enjoy 
afterwards. Then I add. 

Direction 15. That if we are to hope for the blessedness 
of the other state, as our last end, we are to hop? too for 
whatsoever is certainly intermediate to the universal intro- 
duction of that state : and, therefore, so far as any better 
time or state of things in this world is ascertained to us, 
we are to live in the hope of it, as that which shall antecede 
our end ; for it is the last end that our last hope terminates 
upon. But then, in the last ])lace. 

Direction 16. Take heed of letting your hope ultimately 
pitch upon any thing but what is itself ultimate; that is, 
take heed of letting your hope settle upon any thing on 
this side a blessed, glorious eternity, or upon any other state 
of things: take heed of having your spirits so deeply en- 
gaged upon any better state of things on earth, that you 
mind less, or with much more coolness, and indifferency, 
the concerntnents of the eternal state. Be not so much 
taken up in the thoughts and expectations of a better scene 
of things in this lower world, that tlie very thoughts of hea- 

SBR. XXVII.) Live in the Expectation of Eteriuti/ . 3/5 

ven, and a blessed eternity, should be unsuvoury, and 

This is a very grievous, (I might say) a mortal evil; so 
preposterously doth it invert the course of thinirs ; it takes 
down the supreme end, and substitutes some^\ilat inferior 
in the room and stead of that. And though this spiritual 
distemper may be indulged by many, under a spiritual pre- 
tence, I would fain see religion thrive more, and God be 
honoured and better served in this world : yet there is this 
to be said to it, it is well, if seriously we desire such 
things indeed ; but if such desires after the best state of 
things that is sup])oseable in this world do grow superior 
to the desires that we have of a jjerfect, blessed state of 
things in the other worlds this is (I say) to set the means 
against the end ; and so is quite to invert the order of 

Live in the glorious expectation of eternity; and live 
also in the comfortable hope, that all things in this world 
in order thereunto shall be managed suitably and subseni- 
ently, by that wisdom that cannot err, or make a false step, 
and by a power that cannot be resisted, or disturbed : but 
there is a great deal of carnality under that pretence of 
spirituality; and hence comes that contestation of interests 
and parties; party against party, and interest against in- 
terest. There will be perpetual quarrels, while all men are 
not of a mind about things within the compass of time ; but 
in reference to the glory of the eternal state, there can be 
no possibility of such collision, but all will adoringly and 
joyfully fall into everlasting adoration and praise. 

And this must be the matter of our last hope. And so I 
^hall shut u]) all with the prayer of the apostle : " Now the 
God of peace, that hath given us eternal consolation, and 
good hope through grace, fill you with all joy and peace 
in believing, that you may abound in hope through the 
power of the Holy Ghost." Rom. xv. 13. Amen. 



JAMES II. 23. 

And the scripture icas fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed 
God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he 
■was called the friend of God. 

In recommending to you several requisites for a continual 
course of friendship with Christ, T did not mention that of 
trust, than which there is not a greater requisite to friend- 
ship. But that I intend to he spoken to by itself. And 
therefore have pitched upon this text. Now to proceed 
gradually, and in some method. There are four previous 
things which I shall premise. As 1. Where do we find 
Abraham to be called the friend of God? for it refers to a 
former scripture, as fulfilled, that God did treat him as a 
friend. We find him expressly so called, 2 Chron. xx.7. 
There was a numerous, potent enemy that did seek to keep 
out the people of God from possessing that land which 
God had given to the seed of Abraham his friend. And 
Jehoshaphat urgeth this to God in prayer. So we have it 
again, Isa. xli. 8, v/here there being an occasion to men- 
tion Abraham, he is spoken of also as the friend of God; 
*' But thou Israel art my servant, Jacob whom I have 
chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend." But 2. We are 
to consider and take notice under what notion Abraham 
is spoken of by that glorious title of the friend of God. It 
is true he Avas an eminent saint. But was this spoken of 
him under that notion ? or is it not under a common notion 
as a believer? So it seems to be in the text. " Abraham 
believed God, and it was imputedunto him for righteousness; 
and he was called the friend of God." This is a notion 
common to him, and to all believers ; and this still must 
then agree with the rest of believers. Then 3. We are 
further to consider what sort of faith this was in which 
Abraham is accounted a righteous person, and called the 
friend of God. It is plain that that faith did not consist 
only in believing the general promise of having a nume- 
rous seed. It did not terminate on God, abstractly without 

SBR.XXViil.) Abraham's Faith apprelmided Christ. 377 

a reference to Christ. It did not stand in a cold and in- 
effectual assent to any divine truth whatsoever — for the 
whole context shews the insufficiency of such a faith. But 
to speak to this positively, and briefly, we shall consider 
the object and nature of this foith. As, 

1. For the object of it, is evident that it did comprehend 
and take in four representations of Christ. How distinct 
and explicit his understanding- thereof was we cannot 
determine. But he had some notion of it : for our Lord 
himself saith, " Your father Abraham rejoiced to see 
my day; and he saw it and wms glad, John viii. 56. And 
this must be a truth Avith us which none can question. 
And we are told, that very good promised to Abraham did 
eminently intend that one seed, which was Christ, Gal. iii. 
16. And we are there also told, verse 17, that the covenant, 
that was not at first made but renewed with Abraham, was 
the covenant of God in Christ. And we are likewise told that 
this seed of his was to possess the grates of their enemies ; and 
that nations should be blessed in him. So that his mind was 
directed, that from this seed of his, himself should expect 
blessedness. And it cannot otherwise be supposed. And 
ergo, that as the eye was fixed upon Christ, as his seed by 
promise, and through that to be blessed himself. The 
prophets themselves did not fully understand their own pro- 
phesying of him. Some ju'ophccies they must be supposed 
to have, though not most distinct and clear to themselves. 
go Ave find, 1 Pet. i. 10, 11. " Of which salvation the pro- 
phets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophe- 
sied of the grace that should come unto you : Searching 
Avhat, or Avhat manner of time the Spirit of Christ which 
was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the 
sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." 

2. As to the nature or kind of that faith, in reference to 
the object, it must be such as, according to his understand- 
ing of the discovery he had there, nuist be an embracing of 
his heart and Avill towards this object. He doth close 
with Christ according to the representation he had of him. 
Christ was the sum and substance of the Gospel — faith in 
the mind and heart of Abraham, as far as the discovery was 
made to him. 

And now the way is plain to that which I principally in- 
tend for the ground' of discourse from this text, to wit : 

Doctrine. That there is much of friendly commerce be- 
tween the blessed God and the souls of men in and about 


the production and exercise of that faith upon which he 
counts them righteous, and doth justify, and will finally 
save them. This is the substance of what I intend to insist 
upon from the whole of this text. I take it to be clear that 
Abraham's faith was the same for kind and nature with 
that by which all believers are justified and saved. And he 
was called the friend of God. And then I say there is much 
friendly converse between God and souls in the production 
and service of that faith which justifies and saves. Now 
take notice, 

1. That I do not consider that discovery of friendship 
in the single act of faith, but take a further latitude, as to the 
production and exercising of that faith. There is a friend- 
ship in that whole ingratiation between God and souls, 
when he is about producing, and they about the exercising, 
of that faith. And again, 

2. Take notice, that I do not speak of faith here as justi- 
fying only, but of faith as saving also, being led thereto by 
the context, and by my own design. By the context, which 
speaks of faith under both notions, as justifying, in the 
words next following. And as saving, in the l4th verse : 
Can such a faith save him ? And upon account of my own 
design, i. e. of discovering the friendship which appears 
in this matter, Avhich certainly is eminently seen at the 
last in salvation, as that is the result of all the transactions 
between God and the soul in these matters. And again, 

3. Take notice that hereupon this friendship is not to be 
considered merely as begun, but as continued unto the last: 
for friendship doth not lie in a single act, but a state. 
And ergo, there must be a continued course of friendship, 
frequent repetitions of such a kind and manner as there was 
in the inchoation, the beginning of this friendship. There 
may be intervals of it, after some notable failure on the one 
part or the other. And there must be somewhat done to 
the keeping of it on foot throughout ; for that it never be 
totally broken oflf with them whom the end, the perfection, 
the consummation of it, shall take place at last, to wit, their 
final and eternal salvation. And, 

4. Further consider this, that wheresoever there is true 
friendship (admitting it to be called so in the best and pro- 
per sense) it must be mutual. A man cannot truly and 
properly be said to be a friend with an inanimate subject, 
and there may be a disparity both natural and moral. As I 
can have no friendship, or there can be no entire and full 
friendship between me and a stone 3 so neither can there 

SER. xxviii.) God's friendly Instructions and Counsels. 379 

be between me and an enemy. Though I may have 
friendly propensions towards such an one, yet an actnal, 
friendly intercourse tliere cannot be, if there be an inca- 
pacity in the other subject, either natural or moral. 
Ergo, to speak to the subject cf the intercourses of friend- 
ship, that are in this transaction between God and the soul 
in and about this production, and exercising of that faith 
by which he justifies and saves, it was fit to premise these 
things. And these things being clear. I am to shew, 

I. What there is of a friendly ])ropension on God's part 
towards the souls of such with whom he so negotiates, in 
the management and conduct of this matter. And the 
friendship herein, on his part, appears in general in these 
two things. 

1. In friendly instructions and counsels 5 and, 

2. In friendly performances, or actual communications. 
1. In friendly instructions and counsels: so he is a wise 

friend; as in the other he is a powerful one. His wisdom 
appears in his instructions and counsels ; and his power in 
his performances and communications; but neither of these 
exclusively of the other. And, 

(1.) It is much of friendly propension, thatGod discovers to 
men in bringing about that faith Avhich is justifying, in the 
friendly instructions and counsels he affords them in order 
hereunto. And we must take in this, that what as to his 
purpose he speaks by his word to them, he doth by his 
Spirit impress upon them. This is as the seal to the wax, 
which makes and leaves its impress thereon. What he 
speaks outwardly by his word, he speaks internally by his 
Spirit, which makes use of the word to enlighten their 
minds with, and begets correspondent characters on the soul, 
so as to make the word effectual. And, 

He instructs them concerning their undone and miser- 
able state while they remain strangers to him, and enemies 
against him. He speaks copiously to them of this by his 
word; and must be understood to speak correspondently 
hereof by his Spirit. Thou art in a state of separation from 
me, who am the Author of thy being and blessedness. 
Thou art insensible of this state, and thou (hinkcst that thou 
needest not God, thou canst live without him in the world. 
Whereas thou art lost, a guilty creature, liable to wrath : 
and thou art an imjDOtent creature ; thou canst not escape 
or deliver thyself: and what will become of thee, thou hast 
not righteousness nor strength! It is necessary that the 
soul do apprehend and feel this, and the misery of his state 


while he hath no God, no interest in him, nor righteousness 
to recommend him to God. Men have not a word to say 
for themselves in this case. The power of God is engaged 
against them. Against his justice they can say nothing, 
and against his power they can do nothing. When there 
is a design of friendship on foot, then God takes the soul 
aside, and shews it all this, to convince it. God now brings 
things home with a strong hand, and makes the soul con- 
sider what it may expect, if it continue in a war against 
Heaven. Then, 

(2.) He instructs them (and there is much of friendliness in 
it) concemiiig his own reconcileableness to sinners. God 
declares it in his word, and he speaks it over again to their 
own ears and hearts. Men will not mind what is said in 
the Avord. They might easily see that he is placable and 
willing to be reconciled; his giving them much of his 
goodness, and his exercising patience and long suffering to- 
wards them, and all this to lead them to repentance. He 
expostulates the matter with men on plain evidence of the 
things themselves: " Or despisest thou the riches of his 
goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering; not knowing 
that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" 
Rom. ii. 4. But he hath spoken out to men in the gospel, 
wherein he opens his heart, and declares his counsels to 
them. But all this needs to be spoken to men inwardly. 
He urgeth and inculcates his mind and will to them ; rea- 
sons and argues with their souls. Why hast thou not 
understood all this hitherto ? but thou understandest it now 
that I am a reconcileable God, if thou now fall not in with 
my method for this end. This is of mighty importance for 
bringing about such a friendship ; for while men appre- 
hend God to be irreconcileable, that will lead them to 
despair, and be an hell upon earth. But to behold a gospel 
of grace and reconciliation, and having it set on so as to 
apprehend the thing indeed, this engageth the intention 
and mind to consider the terms offered. And then, 

(3.) He instructs such souls about the great reconciler and 
mediator of their peace, into \vhose hands he hath put all 
this affair; unto whom they must be beholden, from whom 
they must receive all that grace that is requisite, either to 
the changing of the state, or the changing of the frame. 
And if men be not inwardly and with efficacy instructed 
concerning all this, the very doctrine of reconciliation itself 
would very slowly enter against those mighty objections, 
which it might meet with in a considering mind. For any 

SER. XXVIII.) God's friendly Imiructions and Counsels. 381 

one that understood the nature of God, and considered him 
as a being absolutely perfect, and so apprehended bis holiness 
and his justice to be in the highest perfection in him, as 
Avell as his other governing attributes; if one thought 
should arise in the mind of such a person, about contracting 
a peace and friendship with his God, Oh, how shall he 
answer it to himself, when his own mind tells him, his 
nature admits of no change, and my nature, by any power 
of my own, admits of none. God will not change his nature, 
and I cannot change mine. This very nature and natural 
state put me into a posture of direct hostility against his 
sovereign authority, against his justice, and against his 
holiness, all at once. If a man in this case hath no way in 
view how God can consistently with the honour and dignity 
of his authority and government, and the unalterableness of 
his eternal law, be reconciled to a sinner, and lead him 
into communion with himself: here lies an objection in the 
mind of such an one, against the sum of the gospel, if that 
were held faith only in general. That is, that God is will- 
ing to be reconciled to sinners. For what? Is he willing 
to deny himself? To come down from his throne to quit 
his government? or is it possible to him to change his 
nature, to be less just and less holy than he essentially is ? 
But when there cometh to be a distinct explication of the 
way and method wherein God can honourably, and consist- 
ently with his truth, justice, and holiness, be reconciled to 
sinners; to wit, by the discovery of the doctrine of the 
Mediator; and when this discovery is inwardly applied and 
brought home ; that which was before a stumbling-block, 
and a mountain of opposition raised up in the soul against 
the truth and purpose of the gospel, vanisheth, and the 
way is plain, smooth, and open to it; and so nothing 
remains but to fall in with it. But oh, how friendly is 
this, not only to speak this in an unregarded, external rela- 
tion, but to speak it internally to the mind and soul, and 
make it apprehended and understood. To shew unto man 
his righteousness, who it is that he must be beholden to 
for all that is requisite for the changing of his state, and for 
changing his natural frame and inclination, when he must 
have righteousness and strength. To declare all this by 
inward, internal light, oh how friendly is this converse! 
These things are spoken thousands of times over, to the 
stupid and inadvertent generally, and they never take 
notice of it. But when he comes to make light, and to 
shine through that darkness which enwrapt the heart, then 


hope begins to take place. Then saith such a soul, " I see 
it is a feasible thing, a practicable thing that the gospel 
proposes ; I see God hath put the management of all these 
affairs into such a hand as can at once both reconcile his 
attributes to one another, and reconcile him to us, and us 
to him. And then. 

(4.) He instructs concerning the way and method of com- 
ing to have an interest and part in Christ. So as to have 
both righteousness and spiritual life in him and by him, 
i.e. upon being united with him. This is the way ; and he 
instructs the soul that there is not only a fulness of all 
grace in his Son, from whom they are to receive righteous- 
ness, and the regenerating spirit also ; but there is a way 
of coming to be interested in all his fulness, and in that 
renovating Spirit : and, we then must be united to him. 
" Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us 
wisdom." Then we are told there must be union. And 
how is that to be brought about ? Why, thou must be in 
him, in order to this interest and participation from him. 
This wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and 
redemption, which are in Christ, are nothing to thee that 
hast no part in him; but his wisdom is thine, his righteous- 
ness is thine, his sanctification and redemption thine ; but 
all this upon supposition that thou art in him. There 
must be such an union in order to that participation. But 
how is this union brought about ? Why, he that is the author 
of the whole design, is the author of this union ; *^ Of him 
are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom." 
1 Cor. i. 20. Thus this union must be of God. 

But then you must consider this to be very proper and 
wholesome counsel to you. "Acquaint now thyself with him, 
andbeatpeace: therebygoodshall come unto thee." Jobxxii. 
21. Suetohim for allsuch counsel as anywise man would take 
and follow. A« Luke xiv. latter end. " Or what king going 
to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and 
consulteth, whether he be able with ten thousand to meet 
him that cometh against him with twenty thousand ? Or 
else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an 
ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace." This is good 
counsel, which is secretly prompted unto that. Oh, sin- 
ner, sue for peace. Thou canst never, with thy feeble 
power, oppose and contend in a war against Almightiness 
itself, that comes armed with terror and vengeance against 
thee. This cannot be : it is thy way to sue for peace. And 
we are told ia what way God will be reconciled, if ever to 

SER. XXIX.) God's friendly Performances. 383 

be reconciled ; that is, it must be in and by the Mediator. 
Here is suitable counsel given thee. He counsels thee, 
Rev. iii. 18. " 1 counsel thee to buy of nie gold tried in the 
fire, that thou mayest be rich ; and white raiment, that 
thou mayest be clothed, and that the stiame of thy naked- 
ness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, 
that thou mayest see." You are externally counselled to all 
this in the gospel. And it may be there are such direct 
intimations given to minds too; it is likely very often but 
little regarded. But that such counsel should be given is 
very fi'iendly. What wilt thou do, thou undone lost crea- 
ture ? Thou hast no clothing, but must a|)pear naked before 
the divine vindictive justice; nothing to fence thee, nothing 
to arm thee against the stroke of vengeance. Thou art run- 
ning on blindly upon thine own ruin. I tell thee where 
there is eye-salve for thee, and where there is clothing for 
thee, and where there is every thing that thy necessitous, 
indigent, undone state requires and needs; I counsc4 thee 
to betake thyself to him, to apply to him. This is very 
friendly counsel. It is friendly in the design and aspect 
and tendency of it, ;is it presents itself to thee in the exter- 
nal word; but much more when it is inwardly suggested, 
when the thing is inculcated inwardly to the mind and 
heart, and thou art beaten upon by these things, thou art 
so and so counselled. Why dost thou not hearken to coun- 
sel? Why, in such things as these, there appears nuich of 
friendship on God's part ; that is, in the friendly instruc- 
tions and counsels which he is pleased to give, especially 
internally and correspondently, as it must be, with the 
external revelation of his mind concerning these things. 


JAMES II. 23. 

uind the scripture was fulfilled, &c. 

2. The friendship of God appears in his friendly perfor- 
mances and effectual communications. We are to know 
that his friendly design towards souls doth not terminate 
here; itreacheth further. That is applicable enough in this 
case which is spoken in reference to lower and inferior 
ca^-es in the 15th and 16th verses of this same chapter : "If 
a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of food, and one 

* Preached 24th Sep. 1693. 


of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed 
and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those 
things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit ?" 
It would profit as little if God should himself but at 
the same rate treat men's souls ; give them good 
words, though very apposite and suitable to their case ; 
say to them, Be warmed, be filled, but not give them the 
things requisite to their souls, what would that profit them ? 
Compare that with 1 John iii. ]J, " But \vhoso hath this 
world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and sliutteth 
up his bowels of compassion from him, how dvvelleth the 
love of God in him ?" What he may shew of kindness and 
good-will is nothing like the love of God. God's friendly 
propension towards miserable, necessitous souls, did shew 
itself at another rate than merely in advising and counselling 
them, or seeming to wish them well : his friendship exer- 
cises itself in the most considerable acts of external 
benefaction, in doing them good, and rejoicing over them 
to do them good, "with all his heart and with all his soul," 
as the expression is, and his own words are. But as to this 
also, I shall give you instances how this kind of friendship, 
by way of communication and performance, on God's part 
appears. As 

(1 .) That he ingenerates this faith ; he works it in us. It is 
called a " fruit of the Spirit." Gal. v. 22. And it is said to 
proceed from the " Spirit of faith." 2 Cor. iv. 13. We are 
told that " by faith we are saved, and that not of ourselves ; 
it is the gift of God." Eph. ii. 8. That faith we are not to 
take separately and alone : but it heightens the love and 
gift, that we do believe and are saved by faith, " and that not 
of ourselves ; it is the gift of God." It is by this faith that 
the soul is brought into union Avith his Saviour ; by it, it 
comes to himj by it, they receive him, John i. 12, and 
it is by this they come to the Son, and to have life. 
1 John, V. II. It is in order hereto, that God the Father is 
said to draw souls to Christ, and they are said to come to 
him. John vi. 44, " No man can come to me, except the 
Father which hath sent me, draw him." What friendliness 
is this to induce and draw souls to Christ! We must un- 
derstand that drawing aright. It is not dragging by violence, 
but as himself expresses it, that, (Hosea xi. 4,) " I drew them 
with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them 
as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat 
unto them." It is by a gentle but eftectual allection, drawing 
you to him j peaking it by reason and love in conjunction. 

SER. xxtx.) God imparts Faith. 385 

to appear to be your interest and concern ; an<l so M'ork- 
ing on love to yoursehes that it may be inll)r()^e(l into 
a love to him too. When they are brought in with a love 
upon indigency first, they may grow into a love of compla- 
cency and highest delight afterwards ; one love being the 
loadstone of another — loving because you are first loved. 
But look into these acts, and you will see what a friendly de- 
sign there mnst be in faith which is jjroduccd by union with 
Christ. By the result of tliat faith, you will see the kind- 
ness of it. There must be friendship in him that will en- 
gage my trust when it is nothing to him; he gains nothing 
by it, but it is necessary and beneficial to me. I do in this 
case take pains with myself to trust in him, working, but 
only so as one man may upon another in order thereunto ; 
for they cannot immediately touch, and attract, and turn, 
and draw hearts. They can but use apt and suitable me- 
thods in order hereunto ; but if they do that, there is much 
of kindness in the design : when one takes great pains, 
and uses industrious endeavours to induce to trust in him, 
he himself having no advantage by it, but I gain bv it the 
greatest things. That the blessed God should induce and 
engage souls to trust in him, when it can be of no advan- 
tage to him ; but he knows that without it they must pe- 
rish and be lost ; when he doth not only invite them to trust 
in the Lord, stay themselves upon their God, rely upon him 
and upon that truth and fidelity that never failed any; how 
friendly is this ! To insist on it from time to time, not to 
give over the soul that hath often neglected him in making 
these overtures ; this is wonderful friendly. To draw the 
soul into union with Christ, and with himself in and by him; 
this is to bring such into a state of blessedness. " Of him 
are ye in Christ Jesus," &c. You are foolish creatures, but 
he will be wisdom to you ; you are guilty creatures, but he 
will be righteousness to you ; you are im])ure creatures, 
but he will be sanctification to you; you are enslaved crea- 
tures, but he will be redemption unto you : all this is of 
God. And whereas he doth manifestly design to reunite 
souls to his Son, and by him to himself ; how friendly is this 
design. He intimates hereby that such and such can never 
be too near to him, or he too close with them. But, 

2. This divine friendship a])pears in his hereupon' count- 
ing them righteous, and imputing righteousness to them, 
as the text expresses it : " he believed God, and it was 
counted to him for righteousness." This faith was given 
Abraham, and thereupon God counts him righteous ; and 



SO he does every believer besides. And is not this a most 
friendly estimate ? is it not to count as a friend, to count us 
righteous who were far from righteousness ? He not only 
pardons, but accepts as righteous. We should count this 
wonderful friendship, when we consider our state ; we were 
creatures under a law that cursed every one that " continued 
not in all things v^^ritten therein to do them :" and we had 
broken that whole law, in every part of our duty as to love 
of God, and our felloAv-creatures of the same order. From 
the depraved nature of man, being carnalized into en- 
mity against God, and hatred one of another, " the car- 
nal mind is enmity against God." Rom. viii. 7- This is 
more than the breach of every command ; for my quarrel 
is not against this or that precept, but against subjection; 
and so my design is against the divine government : now, 
is not this friendly when he will thus give faith to such, 
and reckon and impute righteousness to them? I know 
there is, as to this, commonly introduced a very unneces- 
sary and trifling disjjute. What it is that is counted for 
righteousness? When the matter comes to be thus stated — is 
it the act of believing or the object believed on ? and the 
question will be easily answered by putting another ques- 
tion : — Suppose it be asked, What is that which clothes a 
man J — is it his garment, or his putting it on ? Sure, a 
very ordinary understanding would find no difficulty to an- 
swer it. The garment would never clothe a man, if it were 
not put on : and the action that a man uses in putting on a 
thing would not have clothed him if he had not the garment: 
and ergo, these two must contribute together for this end, 
of being clothed, but in different kinds — it is the garment 
when put on that clothes him, and the action that is used 
in putting it on is no part of the clothing, but it was requi- 
site thereunto, and that without wdiich he could not have 
been clothed. All this is so obvious, that I might save the 
labour of applying it to the case in hand. What is it upon 
which a man is counted righteous in the sight of God ? 
Why, he puts on the Lord Jesus Christ, and God puts him on, 
as it were, sothrt the scripture phrase is intelligible enough. 
It is that which is put on which is the matter of this cloth- 
ing, and the action that is used here is no part of that 
matter, and yet it is such a requisite as without which he 
would never be clothed. 

What is it upon which a man is counted righteous before 
God ? — why he puts on the Lord Jesus Clirist, as was said. 
But how friendly is it that such men should upon such 

sER. XXIX.) God imputes! Rigliteousness. 387 

terms, and in such a way and method, he brought into 
that state of righteous persons, when, if tliey were not so 
clothed, they stood exposed and naked unto vin(Uctive jus- 
tice, armed with power even to tlie highest. But now the 
sword of vengeance cannot touch them; otherwise, thou 
wert evei*y moment Hable. Oh, what friendhness is there 
in all this ! Again, — 

3. This friendship appears in this matter herein, that 
when God imputes righteousness to the believer, he imparts 
his Spirit: and this is wonderful friendliness, if the distress of 
the case be considered. Plain it is, that the miserable sinner 
did need someM'hat else besides clothing, and without it he 
must have been miserable for ever. And most certain it is, 
that the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Clirist was never 
designed to be the clothing of a carcase. The soul that was 
" dead in trespasses and sins" is made alive when made 
righteous. There is no need of disputing aboiit priority 
here : the rigliteousness and Spirit of Christ are given toge- 
ther; they are simultaneous gifts: he doth not give life by the 
Spirit to such souls because he hath made them righteous; 
nor doth he make them righteous because he hath given them 
life,orgiven hisSpirit: butthese are co-ordinate streams from 
the same fountain of divine grace. " Such were some of 
you : but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are 
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of 
our God." 1 Cor. vi. 11. — And a horrid catalogue of wick- 
edness was recited in the foregoing 9 and 10 verses, " Know 
ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom 
of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, 
nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves 
with mankind, — nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, 
nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of 
God." Righteousness and Spirit are given together; and 
should we suppose these gifts to be separate, the former 
would avail little without the latter ; for heaven would ne- 
ver be heaven to a dead soul : if it were possible for such a 
soul, upon the account of Christ's righteousness, to be ad- 
mitted into heaven, whatwould a dead soul do there ? There- 
fore, they are gifts of divine grace conferred together. 
It would be an horrid reproach and contempt that the 
righteousness of the Son of God should be made a covering 
for continuing the deformity and loathsomeness of a carcase 
that should be only hid, and not cured. This is a most un- 
supposeable thing, and, than which, nothing would be more 
ignominious, not only to the wisdom of God, but to hi 

2 c 2 


grace too; for sure it is more abundant grace to cure these 
two evils together, than one alone ; to heal him inwardly 
and clothe him outwardly at the same time. And again, 

4. This friendly inclination on God's part doth further 
appear in giving repentance to the sinner, which is com- 
prehended in the gift of the Spirit, as every other grace is ; 
only here I must, before I speak more distinctly to this of 
repentance, enlarge someM^hat to shew you under what dis- 
tinct considerations we are to look on this gift of the Spirit 
that comprehends all the res.^^. — The Spirit is given in 
order to its first working, and in order to its after employ- 
ment and work that it hath to do in the souls of men. It 
is not otherwise capable of being given at all, than only 
relatively and effectively in respect of the relation and ef- 
fect. But it is not hard to understand in what sense (when 
a person is the thing spoken of) one can be said to be given 
to another: it is not the one's being made the other's being: 
there is nobody so absurd as to understand the ^matter so : 
but only such an one becomes recited who Avas unrelated 
before, and upon that relation doth such works to which 
relation obligeth, and that he was not obliged to do before. 
This is the meaning of giving one person to another, in 
common language amongst men ; and so must be the 
meaning of the Spirit's being given to any of us, that is, that 
it becomes now related by covenant to us, having been un- 
related before ; for, when by covenant we take God to be 
our God, what do we take? not the essence of God ab- 
stractly, but we take God the Father, God the Son, 
and God the Holy Ghost, who all become related to us for 
several purposes — God to be the prime author of being to us, 
Christ to be our redeemer, the Spirit to be our enlighteuer 
and sanctifier ; and all as comprehended in the covenant 
by which God is said to be our God and we to be his people; 
as is sufficiently and expressly enough signified by the bap- 
tismal form; which baptism brings a signal, a token, a seal, of 
this covenant. We are ergo baptized into the name of the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be continually our God. 
And now hereupon the Spirit becomes ours by covenant, 
or, we having a covenant interest in him, he comes to do 
such work, or to work such effects in those to whom he is 
now become so related, as he works no where else. And so 
he is with them, and in them, to that very purpose. It is 
tme, the Spirit is all the world over in every man, in every 
creature, in every thing : '^ Whither shall I flee from thy 
Spirit ?" Psalm cxxxix. 5, But he is in such as tb^se, for such 

SER. XXIX.) God gives Repentance. 389 

and such special gracious purposes as he doth not eftoctand 
bring- about in any others, but those to whom he is in covenant 
so related. And this being so far clear, then Ave must distin- 
guish between his first operations upon souls, and the conse- 
quent operations for which those former do prepare and make 
way. Whatsoever was necessary to be done previously, 
all that enlightening, all that conviction, which must imme- 
diately accompany and, in some respects, in order of nature, 
but not of time, be before saving faith, if these do come within 
the compass of saving grace (for there are operations that 
be only Avithin the compass of common grace, Avhich may 
be before, and long before, in time.) But whatsoever lie's 
within the compass of saving grace, they are all at once. 
There must be very great exertions of the'power and influ- 
ence of the Holy Spirit in bringing men to believe ; and in 
doing so he does, as it were, Avork as a visitant, but after- 
Avards he Avorks and operates as an inhabitant; having by 
his former operations prepared his OAvn habitation, built his 
temple, noAV he comes to inhabit this temple, to dwell in it, 
and to exert himself in all suitable communications and 
operations from time to time there; as in that 1 Cor. iii. 16, 
" Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the 
Spirit of God dAvelleth in you ?" There never Avould have 
been any act of saving grace at all Avithout his Spirit; but 
there be sucli acts as are antecedaneous to its indwelling- 
presence, and Aviiich he doth as a visitant: Avhereas there 
are continual exertions of the grace and poAver of the Spirit 
to be done by it afterAvards. And hoAv marvellous friend- 
ship is this, that God should give his own Spirit to inhabit 
(with kind designs, and in order to such gracious purposes 
and ends) such Avretched creatures as Ave. Of all Avays you 
can think of Avhatsoever to express friendship to another, 
if it AA^ere Avithiu the compass of your power it would be in 
giving them the same njind, the same spirit, the same sen- 
timents of things that you yourself have, Avherein you sup- 
pose them to be right; you aa'ouUI liave them to haA'e every 
thing of your mind and your spirit (except Avhat you could 
of yourselves a])prehend to be imperfection, infirmity, and 
defect :) and there Avas no possible way, if thnt were in our 
poAver, to express kindness and friendshi]) so significantly as 
this AA^ay. If a Avise man, a good man could convey to a sou, 
not only his lands, his tithes, his honours, his digiiities, but 
could convey his Avisdom, his goodness, his integrity, cer- 
tainly here were the greatest kindness shcAved in this, that 


it were possible for a creature to express. If I would 
do the part of a friend to the uttermost (and this lay 
within the compass of my power), wherein I thought my 
friend and my spirit to be right, I would impart to such 
an one my mind and spirit, that he may be of the same 
mind. Herein would be the truest friendship ; for where 
there is the truest friendship, and there is the most agree- 
ment in minds, they do insensibly mould and form one 
another, and impress one another. But hereunto there 
must be a divine power, according to which all things are 
given pertaining to life and godliness, and the participa- 
tion (comprehensive of all the rest) of the divine nature, 
as it is expressed, 2 Pet. i. 3, 4. " According as his divine 
power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life 
and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath 
called us to glory and virtue : whereby are given unto us 
exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye 
might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped 
the coiTUj)tion that is in the world through lust." There is 
a divine Spirit, and thereby we are made partakers of the 
divine nature, — of all gracious principles and dispositions of 
one kind and another. How admirable hiendship is there 
in this, that the holy God should give into the breast and 
bosom of a man, that pure and holy Spirit, to be an inha- 
bitant and indweller there, to chase away the darkness that 
enwrapt that wretched soul, to inspire it with a new and 
holy life, to implant the principles most connatural to such 
a life, and which are to have their constant exercise through 
the whole of a man's course. Oh ! the friendliness that 
doth appear in this ! But when all this is done, and the 
soul is made capable of acting, here cannot but be, as I 
said, ill the fourth place — 


JAMKS II. 23. And the scriiitiire was fulfilled, &c. 

4. Tne exercise of repentance towards God ; and 
the bringing of the soul to this hath the most of friend- 
liness that can be expressed. It is he that brings the soul 
to the necessary exercise of repentance and godly sorrow, 
whereby men are l)rought off from sin, and brought home 

* Preached October 3, 1693. 

SER. XXX.) God gives Repentayice, 391 

to God. I would now luivQ you to understand, that I do 
i^ot, by mentioning these things in tliis order, wlierein I 
do, say that there is such an order punctually observed by 
God in the effecting and bringing about these things. 
But where there are many particulars to be mentioned to 
you, it is impossible they can all be mentioned in one 
breath ; we can but mention one after anot- er. But God's 
order of doing things may not be always the same. Some 
acts may be produced first in such an order, and (Ibr aught we 
know) afterwards in another. And most certain we are, that 
for the substance of all that is requisite to the salvation and 
blessedness of the soul, it may, and for right we know, 
always is done in one and the same moment, when God 
regenerates it, visiting it with his Son, and so pardons and 
justifies it, and entitleth it to eternal life. And it is very 
possible, that that very moment wherein he first applies him- 
self to the soul to unite it to Christ, may be at the moment 
of its separation from this body. And so all that is neces- 
sary to salvation must be done in that moment, or the soul 
must be lost ; and, for aught we knoAv, it may be always 
so. But, I say, notwithstanding that when there are many 
things that are distinct in themselves, that is, that are 
capable of distinct conceptions in our minds, none of these 
things are to be overlooked ; we must distinctly mention 
things that do occur, though we cannot mention them all 
in one moment or breath. 

But most certain it is, that there is in this very case re- 
pentance necessary ; and there is the exercise of repent- 
ance necessary. So faith is necessary, not only the prin- 
ciple of faith, but the act and exercise too ; for when m' e 
are said to be justified by faith, what is the meaning of 
that ? By a disposition to believe : the mere disposition to 
believe is not believing. We are said to be justified by 
faith, Rom. v. 1 ; so Gal. ii. 16, it is said we have believed, 
that we might be justified. We have believed, not have 
been disposed only to believe, that we might be justified by 
the faith of Christ. Why so, after the same manner, Avlien 
it is said, " Repent, that your sins may be blotted out;" 
the meaning cannot be, that there be some disposition 
in you to repent. Acts iii. 19. " Repent, for the remis- 
sion of sins ;" Acts ii. 38. The meaning cannot be, that 
there be in you some essay, some tendency, some in- 
clinations to repentance ; but Repent, except you repent (not 
except you be some way inclined to it), ye shall all likewise 
perish. Herein, I say, inasmuch as such a repentance is 


SO conjunct a thing with a safe state for a sinner, there 
appears most admirable friendhness in tliis matter. That an 
heart that was most adverse and disaffected to God before, 
should be turned to him ; that an heart that was before a 
stone, a rock, should be so relenting' ; how admirable a 
thing is this, if you consider at once both the necessity and 
the excellency, and the rarity of such a repentance. Take 
these things together, and it is most admirable friendship that 
appears in giving repentance. It is spoken with admira- 
tion, " Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted re- 
repentance unto life." Actsxi. 18. "^ Him hath God exalted 
with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for 
to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." 
Acts V. 31. 

1. Consider the necessity of it, and you acknowledge 
the friendliness of it. Any one that understood the state of 
his own case, if he had but so much sense about him as to 
consider what he should do, and how incapable he is of 
doing it, would say. Lord, what shall I do with this 
wretched heart of mine? I can as soon dissolve a rock as 
melt it down. I cannot make it relent or bleed. The most 
proper, the most weighty, most important thoughts I can 
take up, do all hover on the surface, and never enter, have 
no molifying influence, are productive of nothing : well, 
noAV for Go(l to say, this is a thing that shall be done — I 
will take away the heart of stone ; this soul of thine it must 
dissolve or perish ; thou must repent or die. Thy faint 
strugglings prove thy impotcncy ; I will relieve in this dis- 
tressed case. Oh what friendship is here ! And, 

2. If we consider tjie excellency of the thing wrought 
in this case, it is a most friendly Avork. It restores the lost 
creature to itself, and brings it to God. A most glorious 
work ! Thy wretched soul is not itself till it repent. Re- 
pentance is a becoming wise. It is a soul's return to a 
sound and sober sense of things, of which it was destitute 
before. The character that Ecclesiastes gives of the hearts 
of men generally, which we heard opened heretofore, is — 
madness is in their hearts. Repentance is the cure of this 
madness. It is by it they return to a sound mind; and it 
Is by it they return to God. " Repentance towards God, 
sau\ faith in our Lord Jesus Christ;" you find how they are 
conjoined, Acts xx. 21. A vvandering creature, that hath 
spent its time hitherto in perpetual deviations from the 
living God, now comes back to him. Admirable friend- 
liness, to produce and bring about this return ! Long it 

SER. XXX.) '^ God gives Repentance. 393 

was, and not siicli'a thought taken up, Where is God my 
maker? There M-as no miss of God. How is the soul, 
after the divine touch and impress put upon it, impatient 
of longer distance ? I can live without God no longer ; 
where is God my maker ? This resolution possesses it s 
*' I will arise and go to my Father, and say, I have sinned 
against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to 
be called thy son." Perhaps there were some cold relent- 
ings before, but now that matter is resolved ', and it is the 
power of divine grace, giving repentance, that resolves 
and determines it. Now a disceptation is out of doors, 
laid aside. And whereas the matter was long at this 
pass. Shall I? Shall I? Shall I break off from this way 
of sin ? Shall I abandon that lust which did domineer, 
and unto which I did enslave myself? Now the soul will 
be no longer at this pass; Shall I? Shall I? But when- 
God gives it repentance, he brings the matter to this : 
the soul says, " I will arise and go to my Father," and throw 
myself at his feet and cry for mercy, as that which I can 
no longer live and be without. I can remain in this irre- 
solution no longer. This is giving repentance, and oh, 
how friendly ! When by it the soul returns to itself, and 
to its God at once. And again, 

3. If you consider the rarity of such a work, it is won- 
derful friendliness. How many are there, who sit a life's 
time under that gospel, which is Christ's call continually 
to repentance? "I came not to call the righteous, but 
sinners to repentance." Many live a life's time under that 
gospel by which he calls, but his call is regarded no more 
than the whistling of the wind among the leaves of the 
trees. " I called, but they gave me no answer : I called, 
but ye refused : I stretched out my hand, but no man 
regarded." Prov. i. 24. And what proves the issue of this 
with, God knows, too many? Ye shall call, but I will not 
regard ; ye shall make many prayers, and I will not hear; 
'• I will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear 
cometh." Consider this as the common case, and what 
wonderful friendliness is it when he gives repentance ! 
When he enables a poor creature to fall before him in the 
dust, with self-loathing, clothing itself with shame and 
confusion before him; when he hath brought it to a sup- 
plicating posture; when he hath made it feel wounds and 
remorse within itself, which the most never feel ; — let but 
these things be considered together, the necessity, the 
excellency, and the rarity of serious repentance, and it is 
wonderful friendliness when God worketh a soul to it. 


5. Great friendliness appears in his begetting in the soul 
an universal frame of hofiness and rectitude, that is spread 
through all the powers and faculties thereof. Though this, 
for aught we know, may be done in the same instant of 
time wherein he is said to regenerate a soul; yet it is 
capable of a distinct conception, and so ought not to be 
altogether confounded with that : for whenever it pleaseth 
God to touch a soul with a saving divine touch, that touch 
must be supposed to be vital. He toucheth it, and makes 
it live. He, by that touch, draws it into union with h's Son, 
to him, so as that it comes to possess him, to have him 
(in the Scripture phrase) ; and in having him it hath life. 
IJohn V. 12. Yet, for all this, the having a distinct, explicit 
frame of holy rectitude laid out through tiie soul, is a diverse 
thing; it is to be distinctly considered, supposing that 
that be by so quick and speedy an operation effected, as 
to be in the same moment of time. And so, though these 
be not separable things, they are distinct things. As, 
vi^hen the rational soul is first united with the unformed 
matter of a human body, there may be said to be a man 
virtually, though the several parts of the human body are 
distinctly formed by degrees. It is very true indeed, that 
where a spiritual being is the subject of an operation, there 
it may be quick, and, for aught we know, momentary ; it 
may be done, for all we know, in a moment. Spirit being 
said to be the production, the thing produced in the case, 
as John iii. 6, " That which is born of the Spirit, is spirit." 
Why, supposing that, yet that first vital touch, by which 
it may be said to be regenerated, may be distinguished, 
though not separated from this intire work of regenera- 
tion, by which the frame of holiness is superinduced — that 
work of sanctification. And so the most do distinguish 
regeneration from sanctification; as the former is the 
latter virtually, and the latter is the former actually and 
completely. And this frame consists of that concurrence 
of gracious principles that do belong to the new nature, 
now become explicit in the soul. They were all actually in 
the new nature when first given, but yet make a formed 
new man, as the divine Spirit lays out the several linea- 
ments thereof by his own operation and influence. And 
whether that be instantaneous, or whether it be in a con- 
tinued succession of time, is a matter altogether so un- 
knoM^n, and so unknowable to us, that it would be lost 
time and labour to go about to dispute it. Besides, that 
the determination would be as little useful, as it is possible. 
But certain it is, that besides the communication of the 

SER. XXX.) God communicates Holiness. ^95 

new nature and the new life, which virtually contain all 
holy gracious principles in it, there are holy gracious prin- 
ciples given themselves, which actually and formally obtain 
and have place in the soul, and are the fruits of the Spirit, 
which we find mentioned in distinct terms. Gal, v. 22, 23, 
and in divers other places. 

6. With this falls in the mortifying and destroying the 
body of sin ; and it is indifterent whether this be mentioned 
before the other, or after. It is altogether indifferent. 
For this work of the divine Spirit, it may be very well 
wrought, by the opposite thereunto taking place in the 
soul, and making its own way, and expelling the former 
form, as this latter is itself introduced. As fire seizing 
upon any combustible matter, it doth at the same time 
expel the form of the wood or seal, and introduce its own 
form of fire. But that is a thing that must necessarily fall in, 
be the order what it will, and it makes little what the order 
be. But when there is a new man to be put on, there is 
the old man to be put off, and there is the body of sin 
and of flesh to be destroyed, so as that the soul is no longer 
to serve sin. The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus 
is to free it from the law of sin and death. Bom, viii. 2. 
It is altogether an unconceivable thing, that when the soul 
is in union M'ith Christ, and intitled to a righteousness by 
him of His working out, that it should at the same time 
continue in a stated rebellion against God, and under the 
governing power of reigning sin ; of sin still in the throne, 
and still giving law, or still being a law in the soul, — the 
law of sin and death. These things can no more consist. 
The reign and power of sin is broken in the same instant 
that any one's state is changed. *' Sin shall not have 
dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but 
under grace ;" under the law, as it is a condemning law. 
Why, then, at the same time that the sinner ceases to be 
condemned, sin ceaseth to reign. If it hath no condemn- 
ing power, it hath no dominion. To be under the con- 
demning power of sin, and to be under grace, these are 
inconsistent. And to be under grace, and to be under t}ie 
power of sin regnant, are equally inconsistent. " Let not 
sin reign in your mortal bodies, that ye should obey it in 
the lusts thereof," It will not consist with your state, 
with that state which you are to conclude is yours, and is 
proper to you now, that is, a state of holy life into which 
you are regenerated. " Reckon yourselves dead indeed 
unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ." 


Rom. vi. 11. The Apostle is not teaching' these to make 
a false judgement. He would not have them reckon 
themselves alive unto God through Jesus Christ, if they 
were not alive, or if they were still dead. But if they be 
so alive, if the life of grace doth come to have any place 
in them, the reigning of sin is at an end, as the next words 
shew. Sin is no longer to reign in their mortal bodies. 
And in the 14th verse, '' it can have no dominion over 
you, for ye are not under tlie law, but under grace." And 
you are resigned (as the intervening 13th verse says), 
" yielding' yourselves to God, as^ those who are alive from 
the dead." 

Now howadmirable friendship is there in this too, consider- 
ing the base servitude that all were naturally in unto sin be- 
fore. With how kind an eye doth the blessed God behold 
from his throne above, the enthralled, miserable state of 
wretched souls serving divers lusts and pleasures; drudg- 
ing to the devil for the wages of death, and no other. Not 
dictated to by those lusts of theirs, which, being fulfilled, 
destroy them. "The visages of sin is death." It is only then 
when men come to have their fniit unto holiness that they 
have for their end everlasting life. Rom. vi. 22. That 
there should be so compassionate an eye cast upon the 
miserable state of forlorn souls upon this account, seeing 
them so injuriously imposed upon, held in so vile a vassalage, 
so ignoble a servitude, which hath so destructive a ten- 
dency, that they are led as so many slaves in bonds and 
cords to their destruction and final ruin, to which their 
course and state do naturally tend ; — that God should look 
down with so compassionate an eye upon the distress of 
these wretched creatures, and determine with himself; lay 
the design in his wise and good counsel — I Mill work 
the freedom of these wretched souls; I have appointed 
a Redeemer for them, that is proper for their state of 
slavery ; — the notion of redemption most appositely ansAvers 
the notion of the enthralled state of sinners before. And 
ergo, it is observable, Tit. ii. 14, that our Lord is said 
to give himself for us " to redeem us from all iniquity." Not 
only to redeem us from wrath and from hell, and final ruin, 
but " from all iniquity." 

And that is one consequent of our being in Christ, or 
our union with him. If ever we are said to be in him, then 
he is made to us redemption. Sanctification you have 
heard of (and you have heard of the other before;) that stands 
in investing and possessing the soul with an entire new 

8ER, XXX.) <j God communicates Holiness. 397 

frame of holiness. And Redemption, which stands in the 
divestiture of the power of sin, tliat had introduced into it 
an universal irrectitude, and which is wrought out or 
Avrought oft', eadeni opera, .^y the same work by which the 
new man or the divine image is suj)erinduced. There is 
great friendliness in this : These wretched souls (saith God) 
they shall be slaves no longer, I will assert them into a 
state of liberty. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is 
liberty. That Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of the Re- 
deemer and Mediator, when it makes its seizure, and takes 
possession of them for him, it becomes the law of the Spi- 
rit of life in them, making them free from the law of sin and 
death. And that is a further expression of the friendliness 
of the blessed God to a soul, in and about the matters that 
here lie under our consideration. 

These are his ways with the sons of men, Avhen he is 
about saving them from going down to the pit — when he 
hath found out a righteousness and redemption for them; 
or when he is shelving man his righteousness that he may 
deliver him from that state of death and destruction into 
which he was continually ready to ])recipitate himself. 

There are many more instances of this friendliness on 
God's part yet behind. But as to what has been thus said, 
let us make some reflections on ourselves. What have we 
found of this friendliness between the blessed God and our 
souls, in any such instances as these ? Hath there been any 
such transaction set on foot between him and us ? Do we 
find any applications have been made to our spirits, such 
as we have attended to ? Indeed God speaks to men in- 
wardly, and often, but they perceive it not. He speaks, 
but they know not his voice that speaks to them. It is often 
a whispering voice, which they can easily neglect, and 
against which they shut and stop their ear\ We are not 
to conclude, ergo, that he hath never made any application 
to us, if we have had no distinct reflections thereon. But 
we may conclude, if there have been any application made 
to us to any valuable purpose, then we have been capable 
of reflecting and taking notice that it hath been made; our 
attention hath been engaged, and Ave must have been 
brought to consider that God is dealing with my soul about 
the very life of it ; and salvation or destruction will be the 
issue of the treaty, according as I now comply and co- 
operate (in a subordinate way) with his motions in me and 
upon me ; or do resist them, and comply not. But how 
^wakening should it be to us to consider that these are 


matters of life and death ; that such a treaty with the souls 
of men hath this design to invest them with a righteous- 
ness in which they maybe capable of appearing safely before 
the tribunal of the supreme and final Judge. And we are 
each of us to consider with ourselves, have I yet such a 
righteousness, yea or no? Such a righteousness I cannot 
have of myself, I nmst be beholden for it, it must be an 
imparted thing. Kave I any of those characters in me by 
which I may conclude, or whence I may gather that such 
a righteousness will be reckoned to me, will be accounted 
to me, and so answer the exigency of my case as certainly 
as if I had wrought it out myself? 

Why, perhaps, though we have often heard our case thus 
stated, yet the thoughts of this state of our case may be rari- 
ties with many. And are there any among us that never 
think of any such thing, but just then when we are told of 
it? Do we beUeve ourselves to have souls made for eter- 
nity and an everlasting estate ? And do we apprehend it 
enough for us to think of such matters as these once a 
week ? We cannot help having some thoughts of this kind 
when the sound of words that import them beats upon oui* 
ears. That we cannot help. But is it enough (I say) for 
things that do concern us with reference to eternity, to be 
thought of but once a week, when we cannot help it? 
When things are borne in upon us, and inserted, and we have 
no way to keep them off, unless we would stop our ears ? 
Is this like persons designing for eternity, and for an ever- 
lasting well-being ? If I would throw away all thoughts of 
these matters till the next season returning of hearing of 
these again, how do I knowAvhen my soul will be required? 
Sure, methinks, I should consider with myself every time 
I lie down, have I a righteousness about me in which I may 
safely lie down ? To lie down this night under guilt, when 
I do not know but this night my soul may be required, 
this is desperate. Who can answer to himself his having 
such a resolution as this ! I will neglect it, I will throw 
away all thoughts of it. 1 will run the hazard, I will try 
what will come of it ! But if, instead of engaging our spirits 
in the serious thoughts of what doth so deeply concern us, 
there should be not only a not considering but a continual 
running in the course that tends to involve us in new guilt, 
so that the person that doth not know but the next night, 
or the next hour, he shall be required to surrender and give 
up a loathsome, guilty soul, how amazing is it that a rea- 
sonable intelligent spirit should be sunk into this pitch and 

SEE. XXXI.] God shetos that he forgives freely. 399 

decree of stupidity, so little to consider I have a soul about 
me that is capable of eternity, and of eternal felicity in 
that state Avhich lies before nie : how amazing- is it (I say) 
that an intelligent spirit should be so low sunk as not to be 
capable of considering the ditlerence between the pleasures 
of a moment and an eternity of misery and Avoe, if such 
moment be mispent in this world. And an eternity of 
blessedness if it be employed, as it may be, to purposes 
which it is possible and capable it may. 

I would leave a resolution, if it migb.t be, M-ith each one 
to consider their case. To have a righteousness that will 
bear me out before the tribunal of the Supreme Judge is 
my present and most indispensable concermnent. And 
ergo, shall all of us go away now with the resolution, never 
to be at rest till we can say this righteousness is ours by 
friendly vouchsafement ? We coulxl never Avork out such 
an one to ourselves. But by friendly vouchsafement we 
find such characters to be upon us that speak his righteous- 
ness is ours. Then shall we live the rest of our time, 
rejoicing in the hope of that glory which is also the hope 
of righteousness by Jesus Christ, through faith, as the 
Apostle calls it, Gal. v. 6.— But now I go on to add in the 
next place — 


JAMES II. 23. And the scripture was fulfilled, &c. 

7. That God doth effectually make such souls to under- 
stand, that in his return to them he will be reconciled 
without expecting satisfaction from them for all. the injuries 
that they have done him. Turn they must, there is an 
absolute necessity of it. But he makes them understand 
that this their turning is not for any recompence to him. 
It is a friendly signification when he doth (as it were) say 
to them. You are lost if you do not turn, if there be not 
serious, unfeigned, evangelical repentance : But know 
that this repentance of yours is no recompence to me, it is 
not the thing that shall make me your friend. That cannot 
be, for he gives this repentance. He hath granted (it is 
said) to the Gentiles repentance unto life. Acts xi. 18. But 
it is necessary to make you capable of relishing the plea- 
sures of my friendship, which you never can do if you do 
not turn to me. If your hearts still remain strange and 

* October 15, 1603. 


disaffected, there cannot be a friendship between you and 
me. Not that your repentance sig^nifies any thing to in- 
duce me to be your friend ; but only to make you capable 
of reUshing my friendship, and of entertaining a friendly 
commerce with me. As men can have no friendly commerce 
with one another, unless there be a mutual inclination of 
mind towards each other ; if there be but a disinclination 
on one side, there can be no friendly converse. 

And as much as the gospel speaking thus, and it is the 
constant tenor of it, that God in being reconciled to sinners 
expects from them no satisfaction for iheir own sin, it must 
needs be that whenever he deals with a soul, in order to 
the settling a friendship between him and it, he must im- 
press this (which is the very sum and sense of the gospel) 
upon their spirits. They must be gospelized by it ; have 
their hearts framed according to this import of the gospel, 
which is, that he never expects from a sinner satisfaction 
for his sin. Nay, so far from that, that it may be under- 
stood, and must be understood, if the gospel be understood 
aright, for the highest affront" imaginable to the Redeemer 
for any man to offer at making satisfaction for his own sin ; 
yea, and the highest affront imaginable to the offended 
Majesty of Heaven, to suppose it possible that such a wretch 
and worm as I can make a satisfaction to the eternal God, 
for having wronged him by the least wrong that I ever did 
him. It is to make the Majesty of Heaven cheap to sup- 
pose that possible: and therefore by the tenor of the gospel 
that must be the remotest thought in all the world. 

It is to usurp upon and invade the Redeemer's office. 
1 Pet. ii. 24, quoted from Isaiah liii. 8. " Who his own self 
bare our sins in his own body on the tree." " He appeared 
once in the end of the world,*o put away sin by the sacri- 
fice of himself." Heb. ix. 26. And having by himself 
purged our sins, expiated our guilt (for that is a grand part 
and a fundamental one of their wanting of that purgation) 
he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having 
done this by himself. So that if a sinner should offer at 
such a thing to make satisfaction, what will he say ? Dost 
thou touch him with thy work ? This is a thing I do by 
myself. This is part of my sacred office ; dost thou touch 
my work ? Hands off, it belongs to me. 

And it is to suppose the Majesty of Heaven cheap and 
mean, and to suppose the Redeemer impotent, to think that 
the sinner should expiate his own sin and make God 
amends, when he hath committed this thing entirely to his 

sEft, XXXI.) God shews that he freely forgives. 401 

own Son. Thus it is that he doth gospclize the spirits of 
sinners, when he is designing- to make them his indeed, to 
bring them into a state of friendship whh him. That 
though there be most tender rclentings, and deepest debase- 
ment and humiliation, and they could lay themselves even 
as low as hell at the foot of the mercy scat, yet for all this, 
it is the remotest thing in all the world for them to imagine 
they can satisfy the Divine Majesty in the least, give the 
least satisfaction for the least offence or wrong that they 
have done. Therefore whereas this is the voice of the 
gospel, " Turn and ye shall live," and, I expect no compensa- 
tion from you for any of the injuries you have done me, 
you that have lived in continual neglect of me all your 
days, -wandering from and rebelling against the God of 
your lives, — if you turn I will be reconciled to you freely; 
I will most freely forgive you ; the pardon and the peace 
that I am r^^ady to afford you shall cost you nothing ; and 
whatsoever is requisite to your present safe, and future 
happy state, shall be without the least expense to you. 
" Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and 
he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, 
come, buy Avine and milk without money and without 
price.^' Isaiah Iv. 1. Never trouble yourselves for money, 
for it shall cost you nothing. Those mercies, that flow as 
waters from a most exuberant and abundant fountain; 
those gracious, those spirltful communications meant by 
milk and wine, these shall all stand you in nothing ; you 
shall have all freely if you will come. " Ho, evei-y one that 
thirsteth, come ; and I will make an everlasting covenant 
with you, even the sure mercies of David." Why this is a 
strange way to induce men to be reconciled to God, and to 
become friends -with him. You will say, I have offended 
him highly, lived long in continual neglect of him and re- 
bellion against him ; how shall I see his face ? How 
shall I hold up my head before him ? What shall I render 
to him by way of recompence ? Shall it be thousands 
of rams, or ten thousands of rivers of oil ? Alas! I cannot < 
command them, and they would signify nothing if I could. 
If this whole world were mine, and I could make it 
one flaming sacrifice to his offended wrath and justice, 
it would avail nothing. Oh ! to have any such objec- 
tion seasonably and aptly obviated ! Why, all that you 
need, it shall be given without price. W'ithout price ! what, 
such precious things as I need, and must have, or I must 
perish ? Yes, be they never so precious. " The Son 
VOL. vm. 2 D 


of man came not to be ministered nnto, bnt to minister, 
and to give his lite a ransom for many." Do not think it 
Avill reach but to a few. Be they nevei" so many, it is a 
ransom of sufficient value. "Ke gave himself a ransom 
for all, (sec 1 Tim. ii. 6.) to be testified in due time." 
That is, he offered so full a ransom, that if there were 
never so many to be saved, there needs no addition to the 
value of the ransom. And none can fall short of being" 
saved, for that reason, because the ransom was too little, 
because it would not answer the exigencies of the case. 
That can never be objected. — " To be testified in due time." 
I rest on that passage, too faintly rendered, and so as to hide 
from us the true and full signincancy of it ; ^' he gave him- 
self a ransom, a testimony ;" there is no more than so ; 
which being read as a parenthesis, those words (in due 
time) are connected with the former, he gave himself a 
ransom in due time, in the proper appointed time. A 
testimony ; yea, a wonderful testimony. Christ upon the 
cross! What a testimony is this of the reconcileableness 
of God to sinners ! What pretence hath the unbeliever, or 
any heart, against the speakingness and significancy of this 
testimony ? When you see Christ dying, and Christ a ran- 
som to redeem sinners by a reconciling sacrifice, is not 
that a sufficient testimony of the Divine good will ? You 
see this in far lower instances : he did not leave himself 
without witness, when there was no more to be seen of 
his kindness, propension, and good will to men, but giving 
rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons. But, oh ! what a 
witness is this, when he gives his Son to die as a ransom 
upon the cross ! when he is set forth (as the expression is) 
" to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." Rom. iii. 
25. A mighty testimony to the grace of God, and a mighty 
testimony against the unbelief of men. He gave himself 
a ransom ; and here was the testimony that God is ready to 
receive returning sinners, and to be reconciled to them 
without any price paid by them. Having such a ransom, 
such a price i)aid down already for them ; so that now, 
sinners, whoever you are, that live under the gospel, you 
have not this pretence left against making haste to be re- 
conciled unto God — " I have highly offended him, I have 
wronged him ; I can make him no recompence, no satis- 
faction." This is to add wickedness to your sin, to think 
of making him a satisfaction. He never leaves that upon 
you ; you have not that to say against returning presently, 
and falling with a broken heart at the footstool of the throne 

siiR. XXXI.) God brings into covenant with himself. 403 

of grace. Yoiiarc not to insist n])on this; it would be 
wickedness to stand ui)on it, to tiiink of making- him satis- 
faction. No, yon have nothing;- to do, but only to fiy to him 
for mercy, inij)lore his mercy, be at his foot ; there wiirbe 
peace between him and you. He is willing- to be recon-, 
ciled, and it shall cost you noihing-. And then lastly as to 
this former head, in the 8fch place, 

8. He thus at length brings about actual covenanting 
between himself and the sinner. That covenant into which 
they enter is a covenant of reconciliation, a covenant of 
peace, a league of amity, in which they take him for their 
reconciled God, through Christ the great Mediator of this 
covenant, and give up tliemselves as reconciled ones to be of 
his people. He brings them to this, desists not, gives not 
over the treaty with such as do believe to righteousness and 
salvation, till matters be brought to this issue and result. A 
covenant is struck between him and them. The sinner 
seeing this state of the case, 1 must perish if I do not turn ; 
if I do turn, reconciliation and' pardon and acceptance with 
God, v.'ill cost me nothing*, I shall have all freely; then I 
have no more to say, but to resign and say, Lord, I take thee 
for my reconciled God; 1 give up myself to thee as a recon- 
ciled one, to be of thy people. Here is the issue and result of 
things between God and sinners. Then, when he is dealing 
with them, in order to the producing of that faith in them, 

upon which they are justified and saved Now the state 

of friendship is settled, and all things are concluded between 
him and them by a solemn covenant. " Now (saith he,) 
I have the sinner reduced and under bonds, safe and 
happy bonds, I am content to be under bonds myself to 
him; at the same time I require him to be bound, I bind 
myself. I will be a God to thee, though thou hast been an 
offending creature." And so the poor soul it hath no more 
to do but to accept God for his God, and to resign himself 
to him as a reconciled one, to be of his people. Now, I 
say, the state of friendship is settled by all this between God 
and the sinner; and being so, there are sundry other great 
expressions of friendship consequent upon the settlement 
of this state. As, 

1. That God takes possession of such an one as his own. 
He takes an entire possession of him. Now thou art mine; 
not in right and title only as thou wast before, and as all the 
creation is, but mine by consent, mine by covenant; mine 
by claim, and thy own solemn act indeed. He accord- 
ingly takes possession of the soul as his own ; comes in 

2 D 2 


upon it with the fulness of that Spirit that designs here 
to fix his abode, and vouchsafe its constant inhabiting pre- 

I told youj before, the distinction between the Spirit's 
visiting and the Spirit's dwelling; and, if you will, of its 
building and its inhabiting. In all the former work it did 
visit, and it was a building preparing for itself. Whatsoever 
was done or wrought in the soul in all the forementioned 
kinds, it was all the work of that Spirit a])proaching the soul, 
and forming it for the purposes for which it was designed. 
And being so prepared and formed, now it comes and inhabits 
the soul so prepared and brought into such a state by the 
Spirit : for it is now its temple. It is become a temple. He 
was to build first; he finds all in ruins and rubbish; the 
ruins of an old temple. But now there is a new fabrick 
erected. " Know ye not that ye are the tcmj^le of God, and 
that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?" 1 Cor. iii. l6. In 
whom we are builded together, that is, in Christ; in whom 
the foundations are laid of this temple, and who is himself 
the original temple, replenished with the fulness of God. 
"Destroy this temple (meaning his body,) and in three days 
I will raise it up again." Here, I say, was the original tem- 
ple, and the model and platform of that temple, which every 
regenerate person becomes upon union with him. All are 
brought as so many lively stones to that '^ living corner 
stone, and so built up a spiritual house." 1 Pet. ii. 4, 5. 
And so that, " In whom ye also are builded together 
for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Ephes. 
ii. 22. Here, ergo, now the Holy Ghost is to dwell — a 
mighty friendshij) ! I will have my very spirit be in you. 
" I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in 
my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." 
Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. I will put it into you, so that there it 
shall have a fixed abode. Hereby we know that he dwelleth 
in us and we in him, by the Spirit that he hath given us. 
That is the mutual indwelling which speaks the nearness of 
the union, and is indifferently expressed by God's dwelling 
in us and otu* dwelling in him. We could know nothing of 
this, but by the Spirit in its vital and discernible operations. 
By the Spirit that he hath given us, (which is an active, 
powerful principle in us,) we l<now that he dAvells in us and 
we dwell in him ; it speaks itself by efforts that may be felt, 
that are most perceptible. And, 

2. He hereupon holds a continual communion with such 
souls : that is it for which he will dwell with them by his 

SEB. XXXI.) God has felloicsh'ip with his People. 405 

Spirit, in order to constant converse ; as they tliat cohabit 
can converse together more freely and more constantly than 
others. Indeed, cohabitation is not fnlly expressive of this 
case, of this nmtual inhabitation, which conies a great deal 
nearer; so that the conversation that can be between them 
who inhabit in the same Avails, and under the same roof, is 
too defectively expressive of vital communion, that living 
intercoTU'sc which is between God and such souls : for as he 
doth inhabit by his Spirit, he converseth by his S])irit. This 
fellowship is Avith the Father and with his Son, but by the 
Spirit, c;dled the communion of the Holy Ghost. Compare 
1 John i. 3, with 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Th.U fellowship which 
believing souls arc ^aid to have with the Father and with 
the Son, is called the communion of the Holy Ghost : the 
immediate agent between the blessed God, Father, and Son, 
and the soul, that must move and work towards him. And 
so this conuinmion is not like that between men and men, 
be they never so near and never so dear to each other, never 
such friends; they cannot converse but by words or by 
external signs and tokens. But here is an immediate con- 
verse of spirit, a vital converse ; the Holy Spirit moving 
the soul inwardly, and making it move under its motions 
back again towards God in Christ: tor God is not to be 
conversed Avith otherwise than in his Christ. And so the 
matter differs as to this sort of operation by the renewed 
soul, from the operations that are exerted and put fortii in it, 
by Avay of preparation and introduction unto tiiis state of 
friendship ; for in those the soul is but passive, barely passive, 
it is AA'ronght upon ; but noAV it comes to be active ; it is so 
acted upon as to procure a continual re-acting, and it is so 
in every gracious act. Such is the vouchsafement of grace 
on God's part, and such the exigency of the case on the soul's 
part, that there shall not be one act but, saith God, I Avill 
have a hand in it. He mingles Avith the renewed sj)irit in 
every gracious act that this communion s])eak?. As it 
is in playing on a musical instrument, there is no string 
that sounds untouched, and every string as it is touched ; 
here is action and re-action throughout ; so it is in this 
communion between God and the soul through Christ and 
by the Spirit. 

Here is the greatest friendliness imaginable oa liis part to 
bring it about and procure that a soul which Avas alienated 
from him, and a stranger and disaffected to him, which chose 
to live at the utmost distance from him, now acts all in 
God, ^' He that doeth truth ronieth to the light, tliat his 



deeds may be manifest, that they are wrought in God." 
John iii. 21. There are such M'orks, such motions, such 
modencies, such suspirings in the soul, as speak him to be 
the author ; as carry their own proof, their own evidence in 
them, that they are Avrought in God. Men would be no such 
thing if God Avere not in the matter. But O ! what friend- 
liness is this, that he will procure that there should be such a 
converse, such an intercourse ; his own blessed Spirit ming- 
ling with the spirit of a poor soul, wiiich he hath now put 
his own impression upon, and gives his vital formative touch 
unto. 3. His friendship appears upon all this, that now he 
taketh all due care of their growth, of their improvement in 
all spiritual excellencies. He takes continual care, I say, of 
their growth, all due care, ail that it befits and becomes him 
to take. And you must know, that his friendliness in this thing 
is not to be estimated merely by the success, by their actual 
discernible growth and improvement ; because his care and 
his agency must be suitable to the subject. This the divine 
decorum doth require, that his agency should be suitable to 
the subject, and the subject must be considered as an intelli- 
gent subject. And, ergo, how are such to grow ? They are not 
to grow as the lilies of the field, not to grow as the grass and 
trees grow, without any thing of Care and concern. In»leed, 
we are directed by our Saviour, in reference to our external 
concerns, to be void of all perplexing care, considering how 
the lilies of the field grow without it. But there is no such 
thing directed with reference to our souls and spiritual con- 
cernment. But we are there put upon seeking and striving 
to the very utmost. Seek first the kingdom of God, princi- 
pally, with all the intentions of your souls. That kingdom of 
God, which in its first and inchoate state must be within us, 
that we are to intend and take care of, and to labour every day 
to have our spirits near, and more cultivated and wrought 
into a compliance with, and subserviency to, the laws and 
rules of that kingdom : this must be our business. Our 
souls ought to be a garden, a paradise, which we are to till 
and cultivate, and to take a continual care of. Therefore, 
I say, that the friendliness that is to be seen in the care 
of God for our growth, is not to be estimated merely by 
our discernible growth, but several other ways. As, 

1. By the kindness of his design: he designs our spiritual 
increase. And, 

2. By the aptness of the means that he useth thereunto, 
both internally and externally. 

(I.) Internally. He hath implanted vital principles ca- 

sER. xxxr.) God secures hl<i People's growth in Grace. 407 

pable of 2:rowinc:, capable of improving-, a new life, a new 
nature, whose tendeucv is to perfection. 

JSafura intendit perfectismnnm. It is an universal law, 
concerning- all nature, that it ever intends that v.hich is 
most perfect. And certainly the new nature is not most 
unnatural, it is not the least of all natural; it doth not 
deviate from and fall below the rules of universal nature. 
He hath im[)lanted principles which naturally tend to per- 
fection, and that affords continual inlUiences to co-o{)erate 
with and cherish those princi|)Ies from that Spirit; from 
which it is possible he may retire, may be g-rieved, and so, 
infer miserable infeeblements and languishments upon the 
deserted soul, deserted in a degree, and deserted for a 
time. And, 

(2.) He affords the most suitable externa! means. The 
sincere milk of the Avord is to be received for that very 
purpose, that we may grow thereby ; and we are directed 
contiimally to supplicate and draw down by believing, by the 
exercise of that principle of faith, iniluences from above 
that may cherish all the rest, and to have that faith exercised 
and breathing in all the external duties and acts of worship, 
which from time to time are to be performed. And herein 
there is a great appearance and demonstration of God's 
friendliness towards regenerate souls. He so far takes care 
of their growth, doing what becomes and befits the Avisdom 
of a God to do in his dealings with intelligent creatures, 
reasonable spirits now insijired from himself, and planted 
with new principles from above; yea, and in this matter his 
friendliness must be owned to a